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Action needed on St. John of God salary payments without delay – Adams

12 July, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, commenting on the latest charity scandal at the St. John of God organisation this evening, has said unauthorised salary top-ups should be repaid immediately, and that any and all wrongdoing in the charitable sector should be investigated without delay.  

Teachta Adams said:

“Revelations in recent weeks of outlandish spending at the Console charity have put the misappropriation of funding in the charity sector back into sharp focus; following similar controversies in recent years at Rehab and at the Central Remedial Clinic and elsewhere.

“There is another controversy affecting my own constituency at the St. John of God charity, which operates a range of services and facilities for citizens with disabilities across county Louth.

“They have been scaling back services on which families rely now for some time, but all the while, it’s been revealed that the charity made exorbitant secret payments to fourteen senior executives totalling €2 million.

“This is a charity that’s in receipt of €130 million of HSE funding a year that has signed a service agreement stating it ‘shall not pay or subsidise salaries, expenses or other prerequisites which exceed those normally paid within the public sector’.

“Yet, it appears they deliberately set out to, and covertly, broke the pay cap rules relating to Section 38 organisations.

“Serious questions arise in respect of the HSE’s role here and its oversight and management of funds to these types of organizations. They have failed to deliver proper oversight and due diligence, even in the face of ongoing scandals, in the charity sector.

“I note the comments of the Minister for Health Simon Harris in the Dáil this afternoon that unauthorised salary payments would have to be returned. That should happen immediately. 

“There is an onus on the State to provide the requisite oversight and accountability to ensure charities operate within parameters that don’t allow for the blatant waste of public monies and the well-meaning donations of citizens.

“St. John of God, and Console, and any other similar allegations, should be subject to the full rigours of investigation by the HSE, the Gardaí and all other competent authorities without delay.

“We cannot allow charities, the vast majority of which are not engaged in any sort of wrongdoing, to be repeatedly undermined by these kinds of scandals.” 

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