Angela Kerins affidavit describes PAC’s ‘vendetta’ against her

Ex-Rehab chief will have to reveal ‘very private matters’ to pursue case, says counsel

The former chief executive of the Rehab Group, Angela Kerins, arriving at the High Court in Dublin this morning. Photograph: Collins Courts

The former chief executive of the Rehab Group, Angela Kerins, arriving at the High Court in Dublin this morning. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

Angela Kerins sat listening in the Four Courts as her lawyer outlined the details of her High Court judicial review case against the Dáil’s public accounts committee (PAC).

Dressed in a wine brocade skirt suit, the former chief executive of Rehab settled in the public gallery at the end of a row, her left elbow propped on the wooden armrest.

She listened as her counsel, John Rodgers SC, told the three-judge court that Kerins would have to reveal “very private matters” to pursue her case. Rogers, a former attorney general, described his client as “a most courageous woman”.

Kerins put her head down and placed a finger to her lips as counsel outlined a newspaper article by Shane Ross and an interview with RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland in early 2014, and how questions about her salary marked “the beginning of a tone that was set”.

Counsel said the PAC used upbraiding language and was judgmental during its meeting with Kerins on February 27th, 2014. His client was examined on “wholly private matters”, including her salary, pensions, bonus and entitlements, as well as on Complete Eco Solutions. “None of that was any business of the PAC,” he said

In the gallery, Kerins turned a tissue over in her hand. And, as counsel began to read out her affidavit – her statement to the court – she covered her eyes with one hand.

Kerins CV

Kerins said her sense of identity and self-worth was built on her work. The PAC, in a “McCarthy-like witch hunt”, had pursued a “personal vendetta” against her, she said.

In hindsight, her actions to protect staff and service users at the charity caused her to take steps that were damaging to her personally, she said. At the PAC, she felt she was on trial “for some unspecified charge from which I could not protect myself”. Afterwards, she felt her name was “like poison”.

On March 2nd, 2014, suffering from stress-related symptoms, she drove to her GP in Waterford, who admitted her to the Whitfield Clinic, from where she was sent to the Beacon Hospital in Dublin.

People in Rehab were looking to her for solutions and she became “irrationally convinced” the solution would be to “sacrifice” herself.

Raised alarm

Kerins cried quietly in the gallery as counsel continued to read her statement.

It outlined her “deep sense of hurt”, how she still missed working at Rehab, could still be “overwhelmed” by what happened to her, and how she continued to be treated by a psychotherapist.

She said she lost her job and nearly sacrificed her life. The PAC should be held to account for members’ “dangerous and reckless behaviour”.

Her action is expected to run for six days.