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Noonan: ‘On face of it’, CRC money should be paid back

The Minister said that the CRC scandal was “an astounding set of circumstances and absolutely shocking”.

Minister Michael Noonan
Minister Michael Noonan
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated 8.40pm

FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL Noonan has said that “on the face of it”, the CRC top-up money should be paid back.

Speaking to George Lee on The Business on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning, he described the recent revelations about the Central Remedial Clinic and its payments to some staff as “an astounding set of circumstances and absolutely shocking”.

He said he thinks that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) approach “is the correct one and I suppose what the chairman John McGuinness said: that they should be allowed to process all the information and come up with a conclusion after examining the relevant witnesses.”

He also said he hopes that the former chairman – Hamilton Goulding – appears before the PAC “where he can tell his side of the story”.

Added Noonan of garda involvement:

I don’t think it would be appropriate that the PAC inquiry would be inhibited in any way by an early intervention of the guards, but when the PAC has completed its work and arrived at conclusions then the other relevant agencies could get involved.

When asked by Lee “should the money be returned”, Noonan replied: “On the face of it it should, yes.”

Unmitigated mess

Meanwhile, Deputy Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin said on RTÉ radio, while speaking to Claire Byrne today, that there “has been an enormous sense of not just shock but also a numb feeling” and that it had been an “unmitigated mess and scandal”.

She said that she hoped when the CRC representatives come before the PAC again, “they come to give the full facts” and “not to dodge questions”.

She said that the efforts they have made “to play a game of cat and mouse with us” have failed.

McDonald said they have confidence that John Creegan, the HSE’s interim administrator, will come before the CRC “with all of the facts”.

She said that the CRC have “acted with utter contempt for their staff and service users” and “contempt towards an Oireachtas committee”.

The chair of the PAC, John McGuinness, said that Creegan is due to come before the committee and brief the members on all of the paperwork that he has and what he has found.

On the same day, he expects the CRC board, remuneration committee, Brian Conlon and Paul Kiely, to appear before the PAC. McGuinness hopes that this can be done in a matter of weeks.

He also stated that he thinks the comments Hamilton Goulding made today should have been kept for the PAC, and that anyone who has information like that “should bring it forward” and give it to the relevant people.

First posted 12pm

Read: Dáil to debate Sinn Féin bill on charities regulator>

Poll: Should Paul Kiely have to give back his CRC retirement package?

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