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OFFICIALS FROM THE scandal-hit Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) are before TDs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this morning.
The CRC’s chairman and interim chief executive Jim Nugent as well as director David Martin are appearing before the Committee from 10am this morning along with HSE and Department of Health officials.
The CRC has been plagued by controversy in recent weeks after it emerged that former chief executive Paul Kiely received a top-up of €135,000 on top of a basic salary of €116,000, with the clinic admitting it used monies from charitable donations to “pay any additional salary amounts over the Department of Health’s consolidated pay scale”.
Kiely is a surprise attendee at this morning’s hearings which you can watch on the livestream above.
However, it is the non-appearance of Brian Conlan, who resigned as CRC chief executive on Monday, that is also causing considerable controversy.
Conlan resigned in the wake of reports that the HSE was unhappy with the way he had been appointed, but has repeatedly declined to appear before TDs today, saying current board members can answer all queries.
The PAC is set to seek powers to compel Conlan to appear before it, meaning it will need the permission of the Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges (CPP), a protracted process that could mean Conlan will not appear until January.
Committee chairman and Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness told TheJournal.ie last night that Conlan’s decision not to appear is “unacceptable” and said the committee will seek to compel the former CEO to come before it.
He said the committee has “to get answers and we have to understand just what is happening”.
“There is €1.6bn in terms of Section 38s (health agencies which receive State funding) and €16 million of that is tied-up in CRC and we just have to get to the bottom of how all of that is paid out and who authorised these top-ups,” McGuinness said yesterday
The HSE’s national director of human resources, Barry O’Brien, is before the committee today where he is likely to face questions bout how much the HSE knew about the top-ups and what concerns it raised in relation to Conlan’s appointment.
Officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are also expected to give evidence.
Meanwhile, RTÉ reports this morning that the HSE wrote to the CRC nine times this year to express concern at the appointment process used to appoint Conlan.
First published 7.30am
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