When will those clouds disappear for Kerins? Charity chief long on answers, but short on detail

Back and forth it went until under-fire witness pulled the plug

Angela Kerins chief executive of Rehab arriving for the PAC meeting yesterday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Angela Kerins chief executive of Rehab arriving for the PAC meeting yesterday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


You could say it was a case of Angela’s cashes dominating the day. In spite of a pre-emptive attempt by a solicitor acting for Rehab to limit the scope its appearance before the Public Accounts Committee, there was no getting away from the vexed question of its chief executive’s pay and the pay of other top managers.

Rehab disclosed last week that Angela Kerins’ basic salary is €240,000. As Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald noted, this is more than US president Barack Obama, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other Coalition luminaries receive.

This comes from the Rehab parent group, not directly from any of the entities that receive more than €82 million per year from the State.

Having told the committee that Rehab managers are paid “at least 20 per cent below the current market median” or mid-point rate for State, semi-State and private groups of a similar scale, Kerins bristled at McDonald’s claim that she was saying she was underpaid by 20 per cent. “I haven’t said that,” insisted Kerins.

On top of her salary Kerins receives a 6 per cent pension contribution of €14,400, which she does not consider particularly attractive and her four-year-old Audi Q4 company car is worth some €18,000. The vehicle passed a roadworthiness test so there is no plan to change it, Kerins told the committee. As for other modes of transport, someone else was paying any time she was in a helicopter.

On it went for seven hours. A long session, plenty of long faces, a long list of questions and and a long enough line of answers lacking in key details.

Questions were asked as to the pension entitlements of Kerins’ predecessor Frank Flannery, a senior Fine Gael strategist, but she didn’t have the answers.

The committee invited Flannery to the meeting, as it did the remuneration committee of its board. None attended, as Kerins said Rehab decided ahead of the meeting that other figures in the organisation would be better suited to answer the questions .

Pressed by McDonald as to whether she would forward Flannery’s pension data and other information, Kerins replied she would do so “in as far as I can”, but stressed she did not know the value of Flannery’s pension pot. Neither , for that matter, does she know the value of the pension her defined contribution scheme will deliver: “I have no idea what I will have by the time I retire.”

More than once she said she could not recall her 2009 bonus, though she dismissed a question from Shane Ross as to whether it was €70,000.

She has waived performance-related pay for four years, doesn’t plan to seek any soon and said neither she nor her fellow managers had sought a buyout of the entitlement from Rehab.

Key targets
While her bonus entitlement in recent years was never

calculated in light of the waiver, she could receive up to 35 per cent of salary based on the achievement of key targets.

She remembered, nonetheless, that she never received a payment that large when receiving bonuses. If the committee expected any more detail on that front – and others – it simply was not forthcoming. Kerins did not explain her €6,000 pay rise since 2011. Ross pressed and she said her pay this year was not reduced, but stressed she was not minded to say much else about the matter. “I have for hours been asked questions in relation to my salary. I have given a full report . . . I really don’t intend to provide any further additional information.”

Ross asked Kerins’ colleagues Laura Keane, Marie Kelly and John McGuire to disclose their pay. After each declined, he asked Health Service Executive director general Tony O’Brien to provide the data in respect of Keane and Kelly, who work for branches of Rehab which are mostly funded by the State.

O’Brien obliged, though the records he submitted went no further than the committee clerk .