Rehab says it will consider revealing chief’s salary
Charity, however, insists Angela Kerins’s remuneration was solely matter for the board
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said today that Rehab chief executive Angela Kerins (above) should reveal her salary. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Rehab says it will consider revealing chief executive Angela Kerins’s salary as matter of “public interest” and on foot of a request by the Taoiseach to do so.
In a statement this evening , Rehab chairman Brian Kerr insisted, however, Ms Kerins’s remuneration was solely a matter for the board of the charity.
He said that since the group’s voluntary disclosure of her salary in 2011, it hadnot recieved a formal request from any relevant authority to do so again.
“This matter is properly a matter for the board and not Ms Kerins, and some of the pressure that has been placed on her and her family has been entirely unfair and very personal,” Mr Kerr said.
“ I am, however, conscious of the public interest in this matter. I have decided, in response to today’s request from the Taoiseach and with the full agreement and encouragement of our CEO Ms Angela Kerins, to consult with my fellow directors to consider disclosing again the details of the Group CEO’s salary”.
Mr Kerr said he intended to convene a special meeting of the board to discuss the matter.
To ensure that all directors and advisors can attend, he said, the meeting had been scheduled for February 17th.
He said he would issue a full statement immediately following the meeting.
Mr Kerr called for the the prize cap on charitable lotteries to be removed in the interests of fair play.
“I am requesting that the Taoiseach would take the lead and remove the prize cap on charitable lotteries to allowing them to compete on an fair basis with the government’s own national lottery as other charity lotteries operate in other European states”.
“I was saddened to hear that fellow charity operators like the Irish Cancer Society and the Asthma Society are being forced to leave the market.”
Earliert Mr Kenny has called on Ms Kerins to reveal her salary and help end the “nauseating spectacle” of scandal and revelations surrounding the finances of Irish charities.
Speaking in Davos, Mr Kenny said he was confident the Irish charitable sector would emerge more clear and accountable from the ongoing controversy - but demanded the full co-operation from executives of charitable organisations.
“Out of all of this recent debacle (and) nauseating spectacle, including with the CRC, will emerge a stronger, clearer situation,” he said.
“Where the public purse is concerned, and people who give donations, they need to know that everything is above board, accountable and transparent and that donations are going for the purposes intended.”
He said looming Oireachtas reform would ensure that charities would publish audited accounts in future revealing their full financial positions, to ease the concerns of the donating public “and those who work diligently for the charities they love”.
During the exchanges in the Dail today Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the salary of the Rehab chief executive should be made public.
He said the Government was implementing the Charities Act and establishing a regulatory authority, to be set up later in the year, so that there could be public confidence in charitable organisations.
“I am in favour of transparency and I am in favour of organisations making known in their accounts, for example, the salaries they pay to their chief executives,” he added.
The Oireachtas Health Committee passed a motion today calling for “calm” and asking people to continue supporting charities.
The committee is to also make contact with each of the section 39 organisations asking to them to outline executive pay, and how salaries are split between public and private funds. It will also ask if the recent scandals have had an effect on their fundraising capabilities.
Earlier Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said the Rehab controversy would not go away until Kerins revealed her salary.
He said her salary should be outlined in the in the company’s annual accounts, and claimed it is not feasible for the company to continue to refuse to do so.
“I don’t think they will be able to not answer that question,” he said. “Sooner or later they are going to have to answer those questions and they’d be wise to do it now.”
He also said Rehab was using its lotteries to increase the money it got from the State.
“The first fact is that only 8 per cent of the money that you pay when you buy a Lotto ticket goes to charitable causes,” Mr Varadkar said. “They were using the system to maximise the compensation they got from the State.”
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter told the Dáil this week that Rehab lottery sales of €7.2 million in 2010 only saw a profit of €558,000.
However, Mr Varadkar said it was a reasonable defence for Rehab to say they were merely operating the system as they found it, which allowed for compensation for not competing with the National Lottery.
“I think what they were doing was using the system and the system was set up, albeit by a previous Government, in that way, that they got money from Government based on the number of tickets they sold, not the profit they made on selling the tickets. What they were doing was using the system to maximise the amount of money they got from Government but that isn’t how a lottery should work.”
Rehab board member John Maguire said the company had a range of lottery products but said “the scratch cards have performed poorly.”
Mr Maguire said 66 per cent of lottery profits were given out in prizes, and also said Rehab had to give retailers 12.5 per cent. Five per cent goes on printing and distribution, with more spent on marketing, as well as on managing the various products.
Mr Maguire said the salary of the chief executive is a matter for the board.