According to the St John of God group, its CEO, John Pepper, is not subject to public service austerity measures imposed under financial emergency legislation known as FEMPI as he is the organisation’s employee and not a public servant.
But Paschal Donohoe, the minister for public expenditure and reform, is having none of it, insisting that no senior manager of the organisation is exempt from those measures which apply to lower grades earning less than €35,000 a year. The HSE is investigating whether €2m paid by the organisation to senior managers in 2013 breaches its pay policy.
Saint John of God Hospitaller Ministries, to give it its full title, is an international organisation that, in Ireland, provides services in the areas of intellectual disability, mental health and older people.
On its website, it describes itself as an “approved entity of the Catholic Church”, and that it “has direct accountability to the Holy See.”
But what about its accountability to the Irish taxpayer or the HSE which funds it annually to the tune of €130m?
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