James Reilly says former CRC chief Paul Kiely should return retirement package

HSE chief Tony O’Brien says money could have shortened waiting times for CRC clients

Minister for Health James Reilly said what had happened was ‘quite shameful’ and there was a determination that the system be cleaned up and ‘we have transparency’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Health James Reilly said what had happened was ‘quite shameful’ and there was a determination that the system be cleaned up and ‘we have transparency’. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Sat, Jan 18, 2014, 01:00

The Minister for Health has said that the €742,000 retirement package authorised by the then board of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) for its former chief executive Paul Kiely should be returned.

He said the Government would use all available options open to it, including corporate enforcement and the Garda and the civil courts, to try and get the money back.

He said what had happened was “quite shameful” and there was a determination that the system be cleaned up and “we have transparency”.

The Dáil Public Accounts Committee was told on Thursday that funding for the package was provided by the CRC’s fundraising arm. The amount provided was about half of its entire annual income.

Dr Reilly said CRC had not got approval for spending that sort of money and he did not believe it was collected for that purpose. People were rightly shocked at what had happened and felt betrayed.

He stated his full support for the staff of the CRC and appealed to people not to lose faith in charitable donations.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the revelations regarding the payment made to Mr Kiely were disgusting. He said there was now a moral imperative on Mr Kiely to return the money to the CRC.

The head of the HSE Tony O’Brien said funds given by the CRC to Mr Kiely for his retirement package could have shortened waiting times for clients.


‘Completely abnormal’
Mr O’Brien described the retirement arrangements as “completely abnormal” and unrelated to any severance arrangements available to public sector employees.

Mr O’Brien said if the retirement package had been used for the direct benefit of the clients of the CRC, “it is absolutely reasonable to suppose that any delays [faced by clients] could be shortened”.

He said the interim administrator appointed by the HSE to run the CRC was continuing to carry out a very detailed investigation. Labour TD Robert Dowds, a member of the Public Accounts Committee and former teacher in a CRC school, also called on Mr Kiely to repay the money and to answer honestly about pay and pension arrangements at the organisation.

“I simply cannot believe that Paul Kiely had the brass neck to sit in front of the Public Accounts Committee last month and tell us that he was receiving a €200,000 pension lump sum, when in reality he was actually getting over €740,000,” he said.

“I am disgusted and deeply upset about this behaviour and the damage he has done to the work of the CRC in treating children with special needs. If Paul Kiely has any regard for the children who are still being treated by the staff of the CRC, he should repay this staggering pension immediately.”