Bonus pay up to 35% never taken, says Kerins
Charity boss unable to remember detail of reward payment in 2009 when asked
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said Angela Kerins was paid more than the US president or the Taoiseach. The Rehab chief replied that she was a private citizen working for a private not-for-profit organisation. She said she was not paid by the taxpayer. Photograph: Alan Betson
During the Public Accounts Committee hearing lasting about seven hours yesterday, she insisted that her salary – which the Rehab organisation revealed earlier this month to be €240,000 – did not come from the €83 million in funding provided annually from various State bodies.
Rehab also announced this month that Ms Kerins had waived rights to bonus payments for the last four years.
When pressed on the bonus paid to her in 2009, Ms Kerins said she could not remember. But she told Shane Ross TD that it was nowhere near the €70,000 he had suggested.
She also said she had no intention of taking bonus payments in the future and that there were no plans to have the charity buy out the entitlement under her contract.
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said Ms Kerins was paid more than US president Barack Obama or Taoiseach Enda Kenny.. The Rehab chief replied that she was a private citizen working for a private not-for-profit organisation. She said she was not paid by the taxpayer, that she had already waived rights to privacy and did not want to divulge more information about her personal financial affairs.
“The salary of the Rehab group chief executive and the group management team is set by the board following advice from independent remuneration experts as to the rate for the jobs in the market.”
She said that the system employed worked out the “market median” – the salary level in the middle of the market.
However, she maintained that “all the group management team are at least 20 per cent below that current market median for total remuneration and have been for some years”.
Ms McDonald said that when Rehab wanted to introduce pay cuts for staff in some of its companies several years ago it had argued at the Labour Court that remuneration levels were linked to those applying in the public service, which had been reduced about that time.
However, she said that senior management in the organisation were insisting that their remuneration was not governed by public pay rules.
“I find that jars with me. I imagine it would jar with a lot of people looking at your organisation,
that some are more equal than others,” she said. “I find it kind of shocking.”
Ms Kerins also declined to comment on questions from Ms McDonald on whether she had received a pay increase of €6,000 between 2011 – when her salary was last published – and 2014. Ms Kerins said Rehab was looking at ways to publish further details of senior executive salaries and hoped to do so this year.
Several members of the committee noted the fact that Rehab received about €83 million from various State bodies such as the HSE, training agency Solas and Department of Justice.
“We do not take €83 million from the State. We deliver €83 million of services to the State,” responded Ms Kerins.
Under questioning from Mr Ross, top executives of other Rehab subsidiary firms – one of whom, Rehabcare, receives 98 per cent of its funding from the HSE – declined to reveal their individual salaries.
HSE director general Tony O’Brien provided a file on remuneration in Rehab companies funded by the health service. He said he was handing over the data under privilege, under the terms of legislation governing the Oireachtas.