Kerins can access Dáil committee files, judge rules

Former Rehab CEO Angela Kerins is entitled to certain documents used by the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) relating to its investigation of the funding of the organisation, the High Court has ruled.

She requires the documents to prepare for her legal action against the PAC in which she seeks a number of orders including one restraining the committee from pursuing further examination of Rehab’s finances insofar as they relate to her former employment.

She is also seeking damages for alleged distress and injury to her health.

She claims the PAC conducted itself unlawfully, showed bias towards her, acted outside its remit, and committed a misfeasance in public office. The PAC denies her claims.

In advance of the action, her lawyers applied to the High Court for orders for discovery of eight categories of documents.

The PAC opposed, saying the discovery sought was not necessary.

RELATED; PAC ordered to hand documents to former Rehab boss Angela Kerins

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy yesterday said that Ms Kerins was entitled to four categories of documents, including those relating to the PAC’S terms of reference when a decision was made to commence examination of payments made to Rehab and which subsequently resulted in Ms Kerins attendance before the committee in February 2014.

She is also entitled to all documents relating to, including but not limited to, minutes/recordings of PAC meetings and/or meetings between individual PAC members whether in private or public.

She is further entitled to all documents relating to, including but not limited to, a PAC application in April 2014 to the Dáil committee on procedure and privileges for an order compelling her to attend a second PAC meeting.

Ms Kerins is also entitled to all minutes, records, and recordings of any PAC meetings that took place from December 1, 2013, at which discussions took place about Rehab, Ms Kerins, and about whether payments to her and other Rehab staff could or could not be subject of PAC examination.

The judge adjourned the question of a discovery order for a fifth category of document relating to legal advice sought by the PAC when it decided to seek Ms Kerins’ attendance before it.

RELATED: Kerins seeks damages over treatment by PAC ‘vultures’

Other categories of files, including communications between the PAC and the Comptroller and Auditor General, were superfluous or overlapped with other documents sought, she ruled.

The judge will deal next week with the question of an appeal of her decision by the PAC and the question of costs of the discovery application.

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