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Parents of special needs kids at St John of God school 'furious' over salary top-ups

The parents said they feel betrayed that these payments were made while the school suffered cuts.

PARENTS OF SPECIAL needs children at a St John of God school are demanding the charity reveal the names and salaries of all executives who received top-up payments.

It emerged last week that the charity paid a total of €1.64 million in top-ups to 14 executives in 2013. St John of God has said the payments were made on the advice of consultants, to discharge a pension risk. It also said the money was from the order’s own resources.

Today parents of children at St Raphael’s school in Celbridge, county Kildare said they are “furious” about the payments and want the charity to give details about who got the money.

Aisling McNiffe, whose 11-year-old son attends the St John of God-run school, said she was disgusted to hear about the payments being made, “while my son and many other children and adults who attend the school and services in St. Raphael’s suffer cuts”.

Should these excess funds not have been used to ensure services improve or at least continue?”

“The sense of betrayal we now feel is intense as we learn that some of the senior executives who imparted information about rationalisation and cutbacks to us, were at the same time receiving secret top-ups to their salaries,” said Philip and Chris Hannon, parents of another child at the school, in a statement.

Michael and Lorna Collins, parents of a 10-year-old boy who attends St Raphael’s said:

Adult services have been cut, day services, respite, a bus service, maple room canteen, snatched away from the most vulnerable, mostly non-verbal clients. Disgraceful.

The parents at the Kildare school are asking that more clarity be provided about who the money went to. The HSE is now conducting an audit of the charity’s finances and the Dáil Public Accounts Committee is expected to call representatives of the charity to a hearing.

Read: Appeal to HSE to ensure Console services are secured in wake of controversy>

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