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HSE chief: Scandal does not spell doom for CRC services

Tony O’Brien promised parents that the HSE would be “with them for the long haul”.

Image: Photocall Ireland!

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the HSE has said the CRC is not doomed because of the recent payments, pensions and expenditure controversy.

Speaking to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One today, Tony O’Brien promised the parents of CRC’s clients that the HSE would be “with them for the long haul”.

Many people believe the scandal could spell doom for the charity but, according to O’Brien, “it does not”.

“Those responsible will be held accountable,” he added, noting that he understand the concern and distress of parents, including Tom Clonan who was a guest on the show earlier.

Clonan outlined how his son’s new wheelchair was delayed, wondering if the transfer of funds to pension pots contributed to the wait.

O’Brien agreed, stating that it was “reasonable” to suppose that if the full amount of donations were used for clients, then delays could have been shortened and services extended.

It is “right that parents make that connection”, he added, “I agree with and am at one with them in their anger.”

The CEO pledged that services will continue for all clients.

“We also have physical control over the still-large sum of money that’s been donated to the clinic over the years and we will make sure that that is used in the future exclusively for the benefit of the clients of that centre.”

Interim administrator John Cregan will spend the next few months running the service “in the interest of the clients” and waiting through a “large pile of documentation”, according to O’Brien.

He said that the HSE will follow wherever the files lead them – be that to the gardaí, Office of Corporate Enforcement or the civil courts.

The affair has been a betrayal of dedicated staff and clients, O’Brien concluded.

The HSE has looked for legal advice in relation to the retirement package paid to former CEO Paul Kiely. He received a €200,000 tax-free lump sum and a €273,336 taxable lump sum.

Read: ‘Please don’t pass the bucket’: CRC parent in tearful plea

‘A twisted web’: Credit cards, foreign trips and 5 other things we learned from the CRC hearings

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