Those responsible for CRC situation ‘will be held accountable’

Head of HSE describes situation as ‘absolutely unacceptable’ and a betrayal of dedicated staff

Director general of the HSE Tony O’Brien who said the pension arrangements for the CRC’s former chief executive Paul Kiely were not normal. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Director general of the HSE Tony O’Brien who said the pension arrangements for the CRC’s former chief executive Paul Kiely were not normal. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Those responsible for topping up the salaries of Central Remedial Centre executives using charity money will be held accountable, according to the head of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Tony O’Brien, director general of the HSE, said an intensive investigation was under way in the payments, including the payment of a €740,000 retirement package to the CRC’s former chief executive, Paul Kiely, last year.

Part of this retirement package was funded by the charitable organisation Friends and Supporters of the CRC.

Mr O’Brien described what had happened at the CRC as “absolutely unacceptable” and a “betrayal of its dedicated staff . . . and it is a betrayal of the clients of the CRC”.

“Those who are responsible for what happened will be held accountable.”

Mr O’Brien said the decision to make the pension payment to Mr Kiely, and other decisions taken by the former board of the CRC, were being examined by the interim administrator CRC John Cregan who was appointed by the HSE to run the its board resigned last month.

“Our interim administrator is continuing a very detailed investigation. He has a large pile of documentation to wade through, he said. “It may lead us to inviting the gardaí in; it may lead us to the office of the director of corporate enforcement; it may lead us to the civil courts.”

Mr O’Brien said the HSE would follow this investigation “through to the bitter end”.

He added: “We’re very concerned whether or not the board had the right to make such decisions and the right to use funds in that way,” he said.

He added: “There’s nothing normal at all about these [pension] arrangement, they’re completely abnormal.”

The minutes of the special board meeting that announced Mr Kiely’s retirement on March 26th said the €700,000 retirement package was suggested as he was not a member of the Voluntary Hospital Superannuation Scheme (VHSS).

But Mr O’Brien said if Mr Kiely had been a member he would not have received that amount of money.

“While they (the board) may seek to dress it up it doesn’t cut any ice with me.”

While the HSE had taken over the clinic for now, they would seek re-establish CRC as a regulated body, Mr O’Brien told RTE’s Morning Ireland today.

He said a “critical weakness” that had been exposed was people who ran the charity Friends and Supports of the CRC were also on the board of the CRC.

Mr O’ Brien said the €12 million remaining in the charity funds would be used to exclusively for the benefit of clients.