Gilmore expects Flannery to play ball over Rehab controversy

‘Quite offensive’ that ex-charity chief and FG adviser had not come before PAC, says TD

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said Frank Flannery (above),  would appear in front of the PAC on the matter of Rehab “if it is in the public interest to do so”, a slightly qualified position.  Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said Frank Flannery (above), would appear in front of the PAC on the matter of Rehab “if it is in the public interest to do so”, a slightly qualified position. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

While the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this morning resolved to call Frank Flannery before it in public session, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore made it clear he expects Mr Flannery to play ball over the Rehab controversy.

Mr Flannery, a long-time senior Fine Gael strategist and Rehab director, did not come before the PAC last week when its chief executive Angela Kerins was questioned for hours by TDs.

Mr Gilmore was asked about Mr Flannery, a former Rehab chief executive, during Leader’s Questions today by Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald.

“He should attend, I would encourage him to do so,” the Tánaiste replied.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been asked about Mr Flannery’s failure to appear before the PAC, and has said people should be forthcoming when public money was involved in charities.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said Mr Flannery would appear in front of the PAC “if it is in the public interest to do so”, a slightly qualified position.

Mr Hogan was having lunch in the Dáil with Mr Flannery at the same time Rehab was before the PAC last week, a matter which has caused some anger.

Fine Gael’s Simon Harris TD this morning said it was “quite offensive” that Mr Flannery and other members of Rehab’s remuneration committee had not come before the PAC.

When Fine Gael’s own are starting to say it is time for Mr Flannery to step forward, it effectively means his wriggle room is running out.

It has been reported this week that Mr Flannery would not come before the PAC to discuss his pension arrangements and retirement benefits from his time as Rehab chief.

That position may have to change rather soon as the political pressure for him to appear continues to grow.

Mr Flannery is still Fine Gael royalty, and featured prominently during the party’s Árd Fheis at the weekend.

As a long time party fixer who is very close to Mr Kenny, he knows how this game will be played out, with the conclusion inevitably featuring him making the called-for appearance.

While Mr Kenny has kept himself at a remarkable distance from this, given his closeness to Mr Flannery, it is perhaps time he had a word in his adviser’s ear and encouraged him to step forward.

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