Reilly denies any deal done on CRC salary top-ups
HSE never sanctioned use of charity money for staff payments, says Minister
Former CRC chairman Des Peelo: said that “two of the very top people” in the HSE attended a meeting in June 2009 at which top-up payments for nine senior figures were agreed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Minister for Health James Reilly has dismissed claims by the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) that it had an agreement with the Health Service Executive to top up the pay of senior executives with money from a charity.
Dr Reilly last night backed the HSE after it denied any deal with the CRC. “As stated by the HSE, the arrangement entered into by CRC with its former CEO and other senior staff at the organisation was not at any stage agreed to or sanctioned by the HSE,” said a spokesman for the Minister.
This is in direct conflict with the claims of the CRC, which said it sent “regular reports” to the HSE in which it confirmed the portion of salaries paid by the Friends and Supporters of the CRC charity and by the Department of Health.
In addition, former CRC chairman Des Peelo said in a radio interview that “two of the very top people” in the HSE attended a meeting in June 2009 at which top-up payments for nine senior figures were agreed.
The HSE was “fully aware” of the arrangement, he said.
Amid huge Government pressure on the CRC, the organisation’s claim to have sent reports on the arrangement to the HSE may be taken up by the Opposition when the Dáil resumes today.
While Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn had called on the CRC board to resign, the CRC statement stands as an unwavering defence of its actions.
“Overall charitable donations fund only 1.1 per cent of the CRC wage bill, with over 98 per cent of all public donations being used to fund the provision of services and capital investment,” it said.
“In 2009, the Central Remedial Clinic had an agreed position with the HSE to phase out any existing management salaries being paid over and above the Department of Health’s consolidated pay scales, and nine affected posts were identified in correspondence with the HSE.
“It was agreed at the time that as these positions became available through retirement or vacancy, new staff would be engaged on salaries purely in line with the department’s pay scales.”
The difference between department pay scales and “contractually-obligated” salaries would be funded by the CRC through lottery proceeds received by the Friends and Supporters of the CRC.
“Funds donated via other sources (such as the Santa Bear Appeal, Comedy Night, Sale of Work, Golf Classic, donor fundraising events, sponsorships, flag days and sales of Christmas Cards) are not used to fund these salaries.”
The €3 million loan from the Friends and Supporters of the CRC to the pension scheme covering 70 former staff was in response to a requirement from the Irish Pension Board together with advice received from the CRC’s pension advisors and is expected to be repaid in full by 2017.
The HSE said all agencies it funded were expected to comply with public pay policy.
“The HSE set out the appropriate salary for these posts in line with public pay scales and informed the CRC that these were the salary levels the organisation was required to comply with .”