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Former CRC chief’s retirement package may be more than previously disclosed

The Public Accounts Committee will hear further details about the top-up scandal at the Central Remedial Clinic tomorrow morning.

Former CRC CEO Paul Kiely followed by now former chairman James Nugent at Leinster House last month.
Former CRC CEO Paul Kiely followed by now former chairman James Nugent at Leinster House last month.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE DIRECTOR GENERAL of the HSE has said that “serious matters” have arisen regarding the retirement package of Paul Kiely, the former chief executive of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC), indicating he may be in receipt of more than was previously disclosed.

In a letter to the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC), seen by TheJournal.ie, Tony O’Brien has said that the interim administrator at the scandal-hit CRC – whose entire board resigned last month – has briefed him on “significant issues relating to the final salary payment/retirement package approved by the Board of Governors of the CRC for Mr Kiely”.

The PAC will hear further details about the internal workings of the north Dublin clinic when Kiely’s successor as chief executive Brian Conlan – who has since resigned himself – appears before TDs tomorrow to answer questions about the top-up scandal.

O’Brien writes that “an amount” – which is not specified in the letter but may become clear tomorrow – was paid to a pension fund “to ensure that Mr Kiely’s pension/lump sum benefits would not be less” than if he (Kiely) had continued to remain as chief executive until November 2016.

The letter states that the payments could not be made without funds from the CRC’s charitable arm, the Friends and Supporters of the CRC and suggests that what the interim administrator has uncovered “seem to be considerably at variance” from what the PAC was informed of at hearings with the now-resigned CRC board last month.

On 11 December, the PAC heard that Kiely’s salary for his final year as CEO in 2012 was €242,000 in total, with €106,000 coming from public funds and €136,000 being drawn from funds collected by the charitable arm of the organisation.

‘Complicated’

Kiely disclosed at that time that he got a €200,000 lump sum payment – drawn from the charity fund – when he retired and will receive a pension of €90,000 per annum.

Kiely denied he had been getting a ‘top-up’, telling the committee that he was employed by the CRC and that was the salary paid to him by his employer and describing his pension arrangements as “complicated”.

In the letter to the PAC chairman John McGuinness, O’Brien writes that he arrangements “raise a number of serious matters relating to the CRC’s Memorandum of Association, the cost of the package to the CRC/Friends and Supports (sic) of the CRC and the payment calculations not being fully adjusted for the public sector pay cuts”.

He says that these arrangements “seem to be considerably at variance from the understanding the committee may have gained from evidence given at the hearing by representatives of the CRC Board of Governors”.

O’Brien concludes that it is now necessary for the CRC to satisfy itself that payments made and benefits conferred are “reasonable and proper” and that any amounts that were paid were calculated and authorised.

“In the event of there being a loss to the CRC (or the Friends and Supporters of the CRC) steps to make good that loss will require (sic) to be taken,” O’Brien writes.

A spokesperson for the Health Service Executive declined to comment on the letter this evening, saying there will further discussion of the issues raised in it at the Public Accounts Committee hearings tomorrow morning.

Read: HSE threatened to cut all funding to CRC from 1 January if board did not resign

Video: Former CRC chief got €200k lump-sum payment from charity fund

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Hugh O'Connell

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