Former chief executive of CRC says charities should be fully open on how all funds are spent

Labour TD says board should answer questions satisfactorily or resign

Brian Conlon: said he had been offered the position last July following a selection process conducted by the CRC board with assistance from outside recruitment consultants

Brian Conlon: said he had been offered the position last July following a selection process conducted by the CRC board with assistance from outside recruitment consultants

Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 01:00



Brian Conlon, who resigned yesterday as chief executive of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC), said there should be full transparency in the charities sector on how all funds raised from the public and the exchequer are spent.

He also said that all executive remuneration should be within HSE guidelines.

Mr Conlon said he had been offered the position last July following a selection process conducted by the CRC board with assistance from outside recruitment consultants.

Last month The Irish Times reported that his precdecessor, Paul Kiely had received a top- up payment of about €135,000 per year in addition to his HSE salary. The CRC later confirmed that fundraising had been used to finance top-up payments.

Mr Conlon said yesterday he had been abroad on personal leave when the controversy on top-up pay in the voluntary hospital and healthcare agency sector first broke. He said he had tendered his resignation within 24 hours of returning to Ireland. “I believe that it is in the best interests of the CRC’s clients and staff that the new chief executive should not have any association with legacy matters at the CRC.”

Mr Conlon said in his five months as chief executive his focus had been “on preparing the organisation for the anticipated bringing into force of the Charities Act legislation”.

“I hope that the CRC will now take the opportunity to start afresh with a clean slate so that the excellent service provided by its dedicated staff can continue to be made available to its clients who rely on it and who should not be the innocent victims of any fallout.”


Resignation
The CRC board said yesterday it had accepted, with regret, his resignation with immediate effect.

It said the post of chief executive would be filled on an interim basis by the chairman, Jim Nugent.

“In addition, Joan Hurley will fulfil the position as operations director in the day-to-day management of the clinic and will coordinate the senior management team. The board will work closely with the senior management team and staff to ensure a positive future for the CRC, its service users and staff.”

Following Mr Conlon’s resignation, Labour TD and member of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee Robert Dowds said that other members of the board must either answer questions satisfactorily or resign.

“A lot of vulnerable people depend on the services provided by the CRC, and great work is done every day by the staff of the CRC to help and support patients to manage and improve their standard of living. That is why I have been most alarmed by the revelations that senior people in the CRC were getting massive salary top-ups of over €100,000 on top of their large HSE approved salaries, and that these top-ups were paid for by fund-raising. There are also questions about the €14 million fund which the CRC has built up in a separate account.”.

He added that given the CRC depends on charitable donations and is also funded by the tax payer, this raises huge questions about the CRC.

“ I want the rest of the board of the CRC to answer these questions satisfactorily. If they cannot do that, then for the good of the people who depend on the services of the CRC, they should all resign.”