Kerins says family relationships in business made her ‘uncomfortable’

Rehab to provide information on dealings with company in which her brother is a director and her husband is a former director

Frank Flannery: former Rehab chief and director of Complete Eco Solutions.

Frank Flannery: former Rehab chief and director of Complete Eco Solutions.

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 01:00

Rehab chief Angela Kerins told the PAC that the organisation would provide information on previous dealings with a company in which her brother is a director and of which her husband is a former director.

Ms Kerins said Rehab had dealings on a pilot scheme for a coffin business with a firm called Complete Eco Solutions but said the arrangement never went any further than that.

“There was an initial pilot. They [Complete Eco Solutions] were helping them look at that,” she said. “They would have helped us to arrange the pilot and there was no further involvement.

“To the best of my knowledge, these folks were helping the organisation to develop that business. That’s their only involvement.”

Answering questions from Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald, she said it was “not correct” to say that Complete Eco Solutions had acted as an intermediary for Rehab after a period in which Rehab had imported material directly from China.

At the same time she acknowledged that her brother Joseph McCarthy was one of two directors of Complete Eco Solutions, the other being her predecessor as Rehab chief and current Rehab board member Frank Flannery.

Asked whether she was “uncomfortable” with a family relationship of this kind in business, Ms Kerins said she was. “In relation to that, I would always be uncomfortable.”

However, said she herself always removed herself from discussion of the initiative within Rehab. The initiative was subject to oversight by the Rehab board and its audit committee, she said.

While she said her husband had been a director of Complete Eco Solutions, she said that he had stood down from the business once the dealings with Rehab commenced.

She pledged to furnish the committee with details about these dealings, but said it was not possible to do so during the hearing yesterday as files must be taken from its archives.

The PAC wanted Mr Flannery to attend the hearing yesterday but Ms Kerins said the group decided other figures within Rehab were better suited to answer the questions.