The Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee has requested that the HSE ask its interim administrator at the CRC to provide it with full details of bank transactions, after it emerged that sums were transferred to four staff members from a company credit card.
As the crisis deepens, former chief executive Paul Kiely is under growing pressure to hand back most of the €740,000 payoff he was awarded after retiring in March.
Parents “disgusted” at the revelations have challenged the board members who sanctioned the remuneration to explain their actions to children dependent on the CRC services which have been subjected to cuts.
Labour TD Robert Dowds, a member of the PAC and a former CRC staff member, looked into the camera on RTÉ’s Six One News last night to directly address Mr Kiely.
“Give back the money now. Help us get out of the real hole that the CRC and the charitable sector are in,” he said. “It is really important that you do that now.” He added that “in some countries, this would lead to an automatic jail sentence”.
Health Minister James Reilly said the payout — funded using almost half of the charity donations collected by the Friends and Supporters of the CRC last year — should be returned.
“We will use all available options open to us, including corporate enforcement, the gardaí, and civil courts,” said Dr Reilly.
HSE director general Tony O’Brien said the interim administrator, John Cregan, is carrying out a “detailed investigation”, which is expected to take up to three more months.
He said there is a large amount of documentation to wade through, but that the HSE would “follow this investigation to the bitter end”.
Included in the examinations will be a business Visa card of CRC medical devices with statements issued to Mr Kiely — which was paying amounts into the accounts of four people.
“This Visa card paid for something in terms of people who are employed with CRC, and I’m anxious to find out why that was,” said PAC chairman John McGuinness.
At the committee’s hearings on the issue this week, Brian Conlon, who stepped down as chief executive in December, said he had “no idea” what the transactions related to.
The Disability Federation last night welcomed a renewed commitment from the Government that a charity regulator is to be appointed, but said this was “long overdue”.