Tánaiste calls on Flannery to agree to PAC hearing request

FG strategist was in Leinster House, but declined to attend PAC

Frank Flannery  is to be called to appear before the Public Accounts Committee. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Frank Flannery is to be called to appear before the Public Accounts Committee. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 12:14

The Tánaiste has called on Rehab director and senior Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery to agree to a request to attend a public session of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The Public Accounts Committee decided today to seek an appearance by Mr Flannery before it in public session.

Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil today that it was a matter for the PAC to pursue the issue with Mr Flannery. “My view is very clear, he should attend, and I would encourage him to do so,’’ he added.

Mr Flannery, a former Rehab chief executive, declined to attend a PAC meeting last week, although he was present in Leinster House. The PAC wants to question him on his pension and consultancy work he undertook on behalf of Rehab.

Mr Gilmore also said the pay of senior executives in Rehab, and any other organisation funded by the State through the HSE, should be made public.

A hearing of the PAC this morning heard criticism of Rehab’s chief executive Angela Kerins over remarks she made about her husband’s involvement in a firm which had business dealings with Rehab.

Although Ms Kerins said during her appearance before the PAC last week that he had resigned as a director of its board when its dealings with Rehab commenced, she did not say he remained a large shareholder of a company called Complete Eco Solutions.

“It is apparent now from a story in The Irish Times that Ms Kerins as a witness was less than forthcoming last week, with some of the information which she clearly had in respect of a close relative of hers and their relationship with that organisation,” said Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald.

“I just want to say how deeply unsatisfactory it is that the chief executive was evasive or short on the full detail which she clearly must have had when she appeared before us.”

“I really hope that we get a response in respect of this item, that we do get the fullest detailed information from Rehab in respect of Complete Eco Solutions and the coffins,” she said.

Ms Kerins told the PAC last week that this company had helped rehab with an “pilot” initiative to make coffins.

In addition to its decision to call Mr Flannery, the committee also resolved to ask the Rehab chairman Brian Kerr and the remuneration committee of its board to attend a hearing.

The committee had sought Mr Flannery’s attendance and that of the remuneration committee at hearing last week at which Rehab chief Ms Kerins was questions.

However, she said that Rehab decided other individuals would be better suited to address the PAC questions.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said at this morning’s meeting that it was unclear from Ms Kerins’s answers last week whether Mr Flannery and the remuneration committee had in fact been told of the request to attend.

However, the resolution of the committee was to seek their attendance again after Rehab provided written answers to 12 questions the PAC submitted to it in the wake of the hearing last week.

Mr McGuinness said he had received anonymous correspondence about Complete Eco Solutions which he had given to the clerk of the PAC and which would have to be looked at.