Sinn Fein Member of the Public Accounts Committee Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that the HSE must now take all necessary steps to recover the overpayments made to CRC executives and senior management in violation of public sector pay policy, and to sort out the excessive severance and pension arrangements that have become the source of scandal.
Speaking following her participation in the PAC hearings on the Cregan Report into governance issues at the CRC, Deputy McDonald said:
“I welcome Mr Cregan’s report and the new competency-based CRC Board appointments. I wish the entire organisation all the best in its future work, not only delivering essential services but also repairing the reputational damage done by past management practices, and by the HSE’s failure to stop them despite nearly five years of awareness of the problem, as the report confirms. I very much want to see the CRC move past this scandal.
“The report’s three most damning findings concern the deliberate contrivance on the part of CRC management to protect the high pay of the chosen few; their apparent total disregard for proper procedure in the appointment of former CEO Brian Conlon; and misuse of public donations made to the charitable arm Friends and Supporters of the CRC (F&S) to both fund the executive arrangements and conceal them from the HSE.
“Especially because these overpayments to those at the top occurred at a time when the CRC’s ordinary workers and service providers were taking painful pay cuts regardless of their pre-existing contracts, I welcome indications today that the new CRC Board and HSE are serious about recovering those made to former CEO Paul Kiely.
“However I cannot agree with the report’s perverse conclusion, apparently accepted by the HSE, that any senior management salaries in excess of approved HSE pay scales should be ‘red circled’ until 2015 and possibly beyond. If cutting ordinary CRC workers’ pay and reducing pensions despite contractual agreements was possible under the law, I cannot see why a handful of senior managers should continue to be exempt.”