Kiely should consider repaying some of €700k package, says former CRC chairman
Hamilton Goulding takes issue with reports payoff will not be repaid
Former CRC chairman Hamilton Goulding stands in front of a portrait of the CRC’s founder Lady Valerie Goulding at his home in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Photograph: Joe Dunne
The former chairman of the Central Remedial Clinic board has said the controversy surrounding the €742,000 severance package for former chief executive Paul Kiely has reached a stage where repayment will have to be considered.
Hamilton Goulding was chairman of the CRC until the board resigned en masse in December following the disclosures of top-up payments made to senior executives at the clinic.
Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday Mr Goulding took issue with reports that Mr Kiely had no intention of paying the money back, saying he had not “gleaned” that from him. He and the former CRC chief executive had spoken in the past week in relation to details about the clinic’s accounts.
“It would be a very good gesture for him to do so. It’s a matter for him rather than me. If I were in his shoes, at some stage and some level it would be a good thing to do,” he said. He said he had really no knowledge of Mr Kiely’s intentions but the situation had got to a stage “where he has to think very seriously about that”.
Mr Goulding, a son of CRC founder Lady Valerie Goulding, said that the one serious issue at the CRC concerned the excessive pay levels of Mr Kiely and that everything about the clinic was “absolutely straight up”.
Asked if he believed there was wrongdoing he said he was “absolutely confident” there was not. “I believe everything was done correctly.
“I have no knowledge of anything wrong being done or anything illegal or greedy or inappropriate.”
Mr Goulding said that while the €740,000 package was an “uncomfortable” arrangement he contended that it saved the CRC some €1.4 million as it would have cost the clinic a total of €2.1 million to continue paying Mr Kiely’s annual salary (which amounted to €240,000 in total) and pension entitlements until 2016.
He also rebutted a series of claims that there were improprieties involved in credit card spending or on trips abroad.
On foreign travel, he said the clinic standards had stood up with the best in the world and it organised a biennial conference in Dublin, the European Assisted Technology Conference, attended by delegates from 40 countries. He said it was also necessary for CRC specialists to go abroad to share information and learn of new advances: “Anybody who believes you can do that and not go beyond Dublin Airport does not know the details.”
Mr Goulding also rejected allegation that the former board was comprised of “Fianna Fáil cronies”. “That is madly untrue. There is no cronyism and never has been. I voted for all kinds of parties. It was said Des Peelo was put in by Charles Haughey but Charles Haughey could not have put anybody in. As it turns out Des Peelo also wrote speeches for Garret FitzGerald. Of all of the red herrings that was the daftest one of all. If we were all paid a nice salary, there might be cronyism. But we all did it voluntarily . . . I don’t know why people are persisting with that,” he said.
He said that the whole controversy was terrible and had left him very distraught, especially as it was his mother who founded the clinic six decades ago. “It is very sad. I was on the streets shaking buckets when I was 10 years old,” he said.