Rehab board dealing with internal complaint against Kerins
Chairman says he is unable to discuss nature of complaint or anything related to it
Angela Kerins: Questions raised about failed coffin business involving husband and brother of former Rehab chief
Rehab and its legal advisers are dealing with an internal complaint made two months ago about its former chief executive Angela Kerins, the Public Accounts Committee has heard.
However, Rehab chairman Brian Kerr told Independent TD Shane Ross he was unable to discuss the nature of the complaint or anything related to it.
“There is a complaint which is confidential which was received and which is being handled by . . . our lawyers,” he said. “I’m not trying to hide anything.”
Although Mr Kerr expressed a willingness in principle to discuss the matter in private session with the PAC, Rehab director Declan Doyle later said he had very clear legal advice that the case should not be discussed before the committee at all. “I’ve consulted with our advisers, strong legal advice that it would be inappropriate in public or private,” he said.
Separately, further questions were raised about a failed coffins venture in which Rehab had business dealings with a company owned by the husband and brother of Ms Kerins and former director Frank Flannery.
PAC chairman John McGuinness said former senior Rehab official Michael Horgan, who was involved at the outset of the coffins initiative, received a “six-figure settlement” after leaving the organisation. Rehab’s director of finance Keith Poole said he could not comment on that or on Mr McGuinness’s assertion that Mr Horgan was removed from Rehab. “He was involved with the coffins. He reported directly to Ms Kerins. He was forced to leave the organisation,” Mr McGuinness said.
The coffins dealings centre on Complete Eco Solutions, was owned by Mr Flannery, Ms Kerins’s husband Seán Kerins and her brother, Joseph McCarthy.
Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald described the initiative, which never went further than a pilot phase, as a “very strange turn of events”.
She said Complete Eco Solution was not registered until December 2009 but Rehab’s own records showed Ms Kerins alerted the board the previous month to dealings between Rehab and her family members.
Although Ms Kerins had told the board she was absenting herself from all discussions related to Complete Eco, Ms McDonald said records showed Ms Kerins was copied on an email about the initiative from Mr Horgan on in December 2009 . “Ms Kerins, far from absenting herself from these matters, was very much in the loop,” Ms McDonald said.
“This looks to the innocent eye as if this business was set up specifically among family members of Ms Kerins with Mr Flannery. It suggests that perhaps people at the most senior level in R ehab regard the organisation as a personal fiefdom . . . that they could break the rules.”
Mr Kerr said he did not know the company was not incorporated in November 2009, nor did he know Ms Kerins was sent the December email. “I’ll certainly be asking questions.”
Mr Poole told the committee that Ms Kerins “previously stated publicly that she had asked” not to be sent any further updates on the coffins project.