More CRC charity funds may have been used to top up pension, TDs told

The Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee is to examine whether charity donations to the Central Remedial Clinic were dipped into to a greater extent than previously thought to top up the pension of the former chief executive, Paul Kiely.

More CRC charity funds may have been used to top up pension, TDs told

HSE chief Tony O’Brien wrote to the committee last night ahead of the resumption of its examination of the issue today.

Mr O’Brien said he has been alerted to a “significant issue” relating to the lump sum payment and pension awarded to Mr Kiely which he said is “considerably at variance” with what the committee was lead to believe in the past.

At a meeting on Dec 11, Mr Kiely said he got a tax-free lump sum payment of €200,000, which came from charitable donations, when he retired last June.

The committee also heard that the former constituency worker for Bertie Ahern was awarded an annual pension of €90,000.

During his time as chief executive, he received a total pay package of €240,000, including a basic salary of €106,000 and top-up payments amounting to €136,000 paid for by the charity arm — Friends and Supporters of the CRC.

The entire board of the disability service resigned in December following public outrage over the revelations and an interim administrator was appointed by the HSE.

Mr O’Brien said this administrator has briefed him on “significant issues” relating to Mr Kiely’s pension.

“It appears an amount was paid to a pension fund to ensure that Mr Kiely’s pension/lump sum benefits would not be less than if Mr Kiely had committed to remain on as CEO until Nov 2016,” he said.

“Furthermore, it appears the payments to Mr Keily could not have been made by the CRC without funds received from Friends and Supporters of the CRC.”

The arrangements raise a number of issues including “the cost of the package to the CRC/Friends and Supporters of the CRC and the payment calculations not being fully adjusted for public sector pay cuts”, he said.

In a letter to PAC chairman John McGuinness, Mr O’Brien said he was “bringing the matter to the attention of the committee as the arrangements seem to be considerably at variance from the understanding the committee may have gained from evidence given at the hearing attended by representatives of the CRC Board of Governance” who appeared before it on Dec 11.

Mr O’Brien also warned that, in the event of there being a loss the CRC or the Friends and Supporters Charity, “steps to make good that loss will require to be taken”.

The PAC will today grill another former CEO, Brian Conlon, who held the position after Mr Kiely.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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