Flannery steps down from Rehab board and from FG roles
Chairman of Public Accounts Committee expects former strategist to ‘co-operate fully’ with the PAC
Political strategist Frank Flannery who has resigned from his roles with Rehab and Fine Gael with immediate effect.
Tonight, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, John McGuinness said he still expected him to “co-operate fully” with the parliamentary watchdog and to give evidence in the coming weeks.
In a statement this evening, Mr Flannery said his decision to step down from Rehab and its associated companies applied with immediate effect.
“It is a step that I undertake with real regret but I have come to the opinion that my involvement with the board is making the Rehab Group the subject of political controversy at this time.
“I have also informed the General Secretary of Fine Gael, Tom Curran that I am stepping down as director of elections and as a Trustee of the party as of today.
“My involvement with Fine Gael related only to electoral strategy and organization and I had no role in advising the Government.”
Mr Flannery said he believes “the Government and Fine Gael in particular, is performing well and the economy is on the mend”.
“The party and the Taoiseach will continue to have my complete support and I will assist the party in any way I can as a private citizen and as a proud ordinary member of Fine Gael.”
A former CEO of Rehab, he added: “I spent 34 years in the Rehab Group and retired in December 2006. I rejoined the board in 2011. The Rehab Group has played an enormously valuable role in Irish Society for nearly 70 years and I wish it continued success for the future.
Speaking this evening, Mr McGuinness said: “The position of the Committee in respect of Mr Flannery has not changed and, like the former board members at the Central Remedial Clinic, I expect that Mr Flannery will want to appear before the Committee to clarify issues in relation to the Rehab Group.”
Mr Flannery’s role as Fine Gael’s director of organisation was a voluntary and unpaid position which involved Mr Flannery “mentoring and identifying potential candidates”, the party said.
The party’s spokesman said he understood this had been the case since Fine Gael took office in 2011. He did not know what the situation was before that.
“Frank is not on the payroll and he hasn’t submitted invoices to the party,” the spokesman said.
Mr Flannery’s statement does not mention whether he will appear as requested before the Public Accounts Committee.
Mr Flannery came under pressure this morning after Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn confirmed he was approached informally by Mr Flannery over issues of State funding which were of concern to the charity.
Mr Quinn says he never had formal meetings with Mr Flannery about Rehab issues, but would see him around Leinster House and Government Buildings before weekly Cabinet meetings.
The Irish Times reported at the weekend that Mr Flannery was paid thousands by Rehab to lobby the Government, with the Departments of Education, Social Protection and Justice targeted.
Mr Quinn was asked about his contact with Mr Flannery on RTE Radio this morning, and said he would usually see him in the company of Fine Gael advisors.