IMO defers internal inquiry due to cost and legal concerns
Inquiry was to examine pension package of former chief executive
Irish Medical Organisation former chief executive George McNeice left the organisation with a package worth about €9.7 million. Photograph: Alan Betson
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has put off its planned investigation into how the organisation was run over recent years, including how the former chief executive ended up with a potential retirement package of more then €20 million.
The inquiry was also scheduled to examine financial and governance arrangements, third-party payments and expenses, as well as lavish spending within the organisation, including the chartering of private planes.
However the IMO’s governing council has now decided to defer the investigation, fearing that it could prove very costly and that there might be legal difficulties in reporting its findings.
The investigation was mandated by an extraordinary general meeting of members early this year, shortly after it emerged that former chief executive George McNeice had left the organisation with a package worth about €9.7 million.
Under his contract Mr McNeice could have received an overall package of close to €25 million, but this figure was reduced following negotiations.
The IMO is now likely to go back to members at a further extraordinary meeting at some stage next year to ask whether they still want to proceed with the inquiry.
The IMO had said previously its retrospective review would 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.
The IMO had recently put in place a tender process for the review. However, in a bulletin to members the IMO said this process had confirmed that a comprehensive independent review could cost €250,000 and perhaps more in potential legal costs.
High Court case
It said the IMO was already facing significant costs defending a High Court case involving the Competition Authority and the current campaign in relation to working hours for non-consultant hospital doctors.
The IMO also said that some council members were “concerned that the tender process had raised serious concerns that a comprehensive review, while very expensive, could ultimately fail to provide the organisation with a document that we could distribute to members as we wish to at the end of the exercise”.