Rehab board to meet over Kerins salary

Rehab chief gives blessing to meeting which will not convene until next month

The board of Rehab has been called to a special meeting to consider a demand from Taoiseach Enda Kenny to divulge the pay of its chief executive, Angela Kerins. The meeting, however, will not take place for almost four weeks.

At the Davos forum in Switzerland yesterday, Mr Kenny added his voice to the pressure on Ms Kerins to disclose her pay terms and help end the public anxiety surrounding the finances of Irish charities.

The Taoiseach said he was confident that the charity sector would emerge more accountable from the affair, but he demanded full co-operation from executives in all organisations.

“Out of all of this recent debacle [and] nauseating spectacle, including with the CRC, will emerge a stronger, clearer situation,” Mr Kenny said.


'Public purse'
"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."

The Taoiseach went on to say looming Oireachtas reforms would ensure the audited accounts of charities reveal their full financial position. This would ease the concerns of the donating public “and those who work diligently for the charities they love”.

In a statement hours later, Rehab chairman Brian Kerr said Ms Kerins had given her blessing for a special board discussion on the matter. Although the meeting will not take place until February 17th, Mr Kerr said he planned to issue a "full statement" immediately afterwards.

“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.”

Asked whether consideration would be given to disclosing the entirety of Ms Kerin’s remuneration package and not simply her salary, the organisation’s spokesman said it would.

In his statement, Mr Kerr said the date of the meeting was set “to ensure that all directors and advisors” are available to attend.

"The remuneration of the CEO is a matter for the Rehab Group board and since our last voluntary disclosure of her salary in April 2011 we have received no formal request from any relevant authority to do so again," he said.

Charity lotteries
Mr Kerr also said the Taoiseach should show "leadership" to ensure fair play for charity lotteries.

"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," he said.

“I am requesting that the Taoiseach would take the lead and remove the prize cap on charitable lotteries to allowing them to compete on a fair basis with the Government’s own national lottery as other charity lotteries operate in other European states.”

Separately, the Oireachtas health committee resolved to contact all organisations in the State-funded voluntary sector inviting them to set out their funding model and a breakdown of their different sources of funding.

"The organisations will also be asked to outline the remuneration received by all executive staff and the funding source from which such remuneration is derived in terms of public and private sources or the percentage of each," said committee chairman Jerry Buttimer. "We will also be asking the Health Service Executive to supply the committee with a detailed evaluation of the situation."

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin