Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Call for ex-CRC boss to repay money

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has called for the ex-CRC chief to repay money in his pension pot

The Finance Minister has added his voice to those calling for the former chief executive of Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) to pay back his huge 742,000 euro pension pay-off.

Michael Noonan said the financial management practices within the charitable clinic for disabled children and adults that had led to ex-CEO Paul Kiely securing the gold plated package were "astounding" and "absolutely shocking".

The CRC scandal was disclosed at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) earlier this week, when members heard the amount Mr Kiely walked away with.

He previously only admitted a pension pot of 200,000 euro.

The money was secured from donations and paid out of accounts held by the Friends and Supporters of the CRC.

An audit by the HSE has uncovered Mr Kiely's pay-off included 200,000 euro tax free, 273,336 euro which was taxable and 268,689 euro paid to Mercer's consultants to top up his pension fund as though he had worked until November 2016.

On an interview on RTE Radio One, Mr Noonan was asked if the money should be repaid.

He replied: "On the face of it, it should, yes."

John McGuinness, PAC chairman, has suggested a fraud squad investigation might be needed over the affair, with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and gardai being called in.

Mr Noonan agreed with Mr McGuinness that the PAC should be allowed to complete its investigation first.

"I don't think it would be appropriate that the PAC inquiry was inhibited in any way by an early intervention of the gardai," said the finance minister.

"When PAC has completed its work and arrived at conclusions, then the other relevant agencies could get involved."

Former CRC chairman Hamilton Goulding today said that he had for years tried to cut Mr Kiely's 234,000 euro a year salary but was told he could not due to legal obligations.

Mr Goulding, whose mother Valerie Goulding founded the clinic, told the Irish Daily Mail that paying Mr Kiely off had actually saved the clinic 1.4 million euro as his successor was appointed on a much lower salary.

"The day we finalised Paul Kiely's package I was so delighted because I felt we had saved the CRC more than 1.4m euro in the long term and that was my intention all along," he said.

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