Review to examine IMO during ex-chief’s tenure

Dispute over McNeice’s claim for €10,000 health subscription and ownership of painting

Delegates at the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) EGM in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, Dublin at the weekend. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Delegates at the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) EGM in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, Dublin at the weekend. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Mon, Mar 25, 2013, 06:00

Financial arrangements relating to former chief executive of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) George McNeice when in office are to be examined as part of a review, the doctors’ trade union has said.

At an extraordinary general meeting on Saturday, IMO members gave approval for the establishment of a retrospective review into how the organisation was run over the last two decades.This is to be carried out by an independent body.

About 150 doctors who attended the meeting also endorsed proposals for a separate review of governance to apply in the future.

The retrospective review will examine all matters connected with the employment contract, payments and pension entitlements for Mr McNeice in respect of any role held by him within the IMO and any of its associated companies.

This review is also to look at financial and governance arrangements in the IMO between 1993 and 2012 , dealing in particular with the awarding of contracts, third party consultancy payments and third party salary, expenses and stipends.

Turmoil

The IMO has been in turmoil since it emerged before Christmas that Mr McNeice had left the organisation with a package worth about €9.7 million.

Under the terms of his contract Mr McNeice could have received an overall package of close to €25 million on his departure but this figure was reduced following negotiations.

However on Saturday IMO members were told that a new dispute had emerged between the union and Mr McNeice over health insurance payments and the ownership of a painting.

IMO president Dr Paul McKeown said since the settlement was reached Mr McNeice “had come back looking for further elements”.

“There is a legal exchange going on at the moment and we are in the process of dealing with that but the initial claims we have had back, we have rejected.”

Dr McKeown said Mr McNeice was seeking the IMO to pay his health insurance subscriptions for another year. He said the cost of this cover was about €10,000. Dr McKeown also said that Mr McNeice had maintained that a painting held in the organisation’s headquarters in Dublin belonged to him.

Dr McKeown said the IMO would require proof of ownership.

Asked whether Mr McNeice had agreed to co-operate with the new review, Dr McKeown said he “we are not at that stage yet”.

Asked whether the review would seek to interview Minister for Health James Reilly who served on the IMO’s remuneration committee for periods before he went into politics, Dr McKeown said he did not want to pre-empt the process but that he imagined all individuals involved would be invited to take part.