Rehab paid Frank Flannery to lobby the Government

Invoices show Departments of Justice, Education and Social Protection targeted

Frank Flannery: money was paid to him through UK company associated with Rehab. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Frank Flannery: money was paid to him through UK company associated with Rehab. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Political Correspondent

Fine Gael strategist and Rehab director Frank Flannery was paid thousands by the charity to lobby the Government, The Irish Times has learned.

Mr Flannery was paid for lobbying the Departments of Justice, Education and Social Protection, according to invoices submitted to the charity. The invoices were submitted in late 2011 and 2012, and were from Mr Flannery’s firm, Laragh Consulting Ltd.

The company invoiced Rehab for €66,000 in 2012 and €11,000 in 2011, and Mr Flannery, who did not respond to queries last night, previously said it “was used for a bit of private business”.

Two invoices seen by The Irish Times were for €5,500, excluding VAT, while another was for €11,000. Sources said invoices were submitted regularly in this period for the same activities, and usually amounted to about €5,500 a month.

UK company
It is understood that even though Rehab Ireland was billed by Mr Flannery, the money was paid through a UK company associated with Rehab, TBG learning. Sources said this was a simple transaction. The invoices submitted by Mr Flannery, a former Rehab CEO, listed activities under the heading “provision of professional services of Mr Frank Flannery”.

The activities included “successfully lobbying in respect of the Charity Lottery Funds”; “lobbying with Department of Education and Department of Social Protection in respect of the activities of National Learning Network and TBG learning”; and “international representation in respect of Workability International and European Platform for Rehabilitaton”.

Mr Flannery is also a board member of the European Platform for Rehabilitation, as is Rehab CEO Angela Kerins.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is winding down the charitable lotteries scheme, a multimillion fund for charity lotteries, which compensated them for loss of business after the National Lottery was set up.

A Department of Justice statement said: “The Minister met with Rehab on 21 November 2011 at Rehab’s request, to discuss the Charitable Lotteries Scheme. Mr Frank Flannery was a member of the Rehab delegation at that meeting.”

A spokeswoman for Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said Mr Quinn had no formal meetings with Mr Flannery, but might occasionally “bump into him in Leinster House”.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton’s spokesman said she has “not held any formal department meetings with Mr Flannery, but would have encountered him informally on occasion in Leinster House and at the Rehab People of the Year awards”.

A Rehab statement said Mr Flannery provided “consultancy services to the Rehab Group and its subsidiary companies”.

As well as his European work, the statement said Mr Flannery had significant knowledge of the charitable lotteries scheme and his work included “meeting and briefing officials” in the Department of Justice.

“Other work conducted included the preparation of position papers for and with Rehab on labour market activation policy in Ireland, aspects of which has in recent years been the responsibility of both the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Social Protection.”

Mr Flannery, who is still active at the highest levels in Fine Gael and is a close associate of the Taoiseach, is to be asked to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions about Rehab.