Remedial clinic support company has €14m surplus

Independent TD Shane Ross

A company set up to support the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) had a surplus of €14m last year, despite cuts to services for people with disabilities.

HSE chief Tony O’Brien said questions must be answered about the firm, called Friends and Supporters of the CRC.

The group received €2m in lottery funding in 2011, and €1.9m in 2010, but gave €750,000 in direct funding to the CRC, which gives non-residential care for adults and children with disabilities.

The details emerged at a meeting of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee into the ongoing top-up payments to state-funded voluntary hospitals and health providers scandal.

Labour TD Robert Dowds, who worked for a CRC school, expressed his “great distress” at learning of top-up payments to its recently retired CEO.

Paul Kiely received a HSE salary of €106,900 as well as a CRC-funded salary of €116,949, and CRC-funded allowances of €19,016. A pension contribution from the CRC brought his total pay packet to €272,102.

Independent TD Shane Ross provided the accounts of Friends and Supporters of the CRC, which showed a €14m surplus last year. He asked the HSE if it was “defensible for a company that has €14m in the bank to be making cutbacks”. Mr Ross said this was “presumably” the resource used to pay the salary top-up.

Mr O’Brien, who saw the accounts for the first time when they were provided by Mr Ross, said: “It seems in 2011, none of the funds went in the direction of the CRC, and in 2010, about €750,000 went to the CRC.”

He said there are “questions to be asked and answered”, but noted the group “is not an entity to which we have a legal relationship”.

He said he would need to know the purposes of the company, before saying if it was legitimate for the HSE to take the view “if these funds are available to us they need less funds from ourselves”.

Without the information, he said he would be “cautious about forming an opinion”.

The CRC could not immediately be contacted for comment last night.

Meanwhile, the HSE plans to claw back funds from groups flouting the top-up payments ban. Officials also revealed the scandal has been happening since 1995.

Mr O’Brien noted in almost every case there is “no paper trail” to support the de facto second salary.


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