PAC rejects challenge to Rehab inquiries

Emergency meeting of Dáil committee follows correspondence by solicitors

Frank Flannery said the committee’s work was politicised due to his long connection with Fine Gael. Photograph: The Irish Times

Frank Flannery said the committee’s work was politicised due to his long connection with Fine Gael. Photograph: The Irish Times

Thu, Apr 10, 2014, 08:41


The Public Accounts Committee moved quickly last night to reject a challenge to its examination of pay and pensions at Rehab by two of its former chief executives, Angela Kerins and Frank Flannery.

An emergency meeting of the committee in Leinster House followed separate correspondence from each of their solicitors in which they said they would not be attending a PAC hearing today.

Ms Kerins’s adviser said she was unwell and went on to complain about “unfair” treatment and questioning at a seven-hour hearing in February.

For his part, Mr Flannery said he retired as chief executive in 2006 and therefore had no knowledge, involvement or authority on matters to do with the body’s use of funding from the HSE, the Department of Justice and State training agency Solas.

While accusing certain PAC members of straying beyond their legal remit, he also said the committee’s work was politicised due to his long connection with Fine Gael.

“Throughout my career I have always believed in the primacy of the institutions of the State and I have contributed to political life in the country to the best of my ability,” Mr Flannery said in a statement.

“However, my basic rights seem to have been disregarded in the pursuit of a partisan political agenda designed to damage the party I have been associated with for many years rather than to elicit further information on the matters under consideration and I would urge the committee to reconsider their entire approach.”


Contemptible
In its response to Mr Flannery last night, the PAC said the taxpayer was entitled to transparency as regards Rehab’s expenditure of some €83 million of public money and said Mr Flannery’s stated reasons for not attending were nothing short of contemptible.

It also referred to claims about Rehab by property developer John Kelly, which Rehab has referred to the Garda. Citing a specific request from Mr Flannery’s solicitor, the PAC said it would not be disclosing Mr Kelly’s correspondence to Mr Flannery or any other member of the public as to do so would be unlawful.

“To suggest that the committee allowed a member to copy and disseminate the letter is particularly outrageous, unfounded and, for the record, utterly denied.”

The PAC further dismissed as “unstatable” Mr Flannery’s claim that he had been slurred or prejudiced by the committee informing the public about the correspondence.