No evidence HSE knew about CRC paying top-ups, says Reilly
There is no ‘documentation to support the fact that the HSE agreed to this at any juncture’
Dr James Reilly: will not set up an independent inquiry into the top-up payments
The Government has disputed claims by a former chairman of the Central Remedial Clinic that documents exist which show the HSE agreed to top-up payments made to executives at the organisation.
Minister for Health Dr James Reilly said there is no “documentation to support the fact that the HSE agreed to this at any juncture”.
The comments came after former CRC chairman Des Peelo said some of the “very top” people in the the HSE attended a 2009 meeting at which the top-up payments were discussed. He also told RTÉ radio earlier this week that agreement between the HSE and the CRC is “on the record” and “in writing”.
But Dr Reilly strongly disputed this, saying: “In relation to the allegations that the HSE were aware and had agreed to this, there is no documentation to support the fact that the HSE agreed to this at any juncture.”
The HSE has also disputed Mr Peelo’s claim.
said that Tony O’Brien, the director general of the HSE, told him he had “17 top people” from the HSE working in voluntary hospitals and other independent agencies that receive funding from the State.
“This issue is seen as critically important to them . . . there isn’t one rule for one group of people and a different rule for everybody else,” he said. The Minister also said he would not set up an independent inquiry into the controversy because an internal investigation was ongoing.
“I think it is important that the process I commenced last year is allowed to come to its conclusion before we start calling for inquiries,” he said.
Dr Reilly said mechanisms could be used to ensure salary caps are adhered to, but he said any actions will not affect service users.
Speaking in Japan, where he is on a week-long trade mission, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that Dr Reilly had instructed the HSE to “sort it out, to sort it out effectively and comprehensively”.
“I hope that can conclude next week,” Mr Kenny said. “You cannot have a situation where ordinary citizens give their hard-earned money through direct debit, flag days, subscriptions or whatever method, and they give that money on the understanding that it is going to go for charity purposes, for which it is intended. Those people who make those donations never intended that their money be used for top-up purposes.
“Therefore, the Minister has given an instruction to the HSE to find out the complete truth of the entire picture and deal with this matter comprehensively and effectively. And I hope that that will be brought to another stage next week when they are called in before the HSE to answer up.”