CRC board must 'answer up', warns Taoiseach

The board of the Central Remedial Clinic must "answer up" to questions raised about the on-going controversy surrounding top-up payments to senior staff, the Taoiseach has warned.

Enda Kenny said the Health Minister, James Reilly, has instructed the HSE "to find out the complete truth of the entire picture and deal with this matter comprehensively and effectively".

He would not say when the Government became aware of the payments, despite a claim by the CRC board that the payments were agreed by two of the HSE's "top people" back in June 2009.

Speaking in Japan, where is leading a trade delegation, Mr Kenny said it was "never intended" that the Government's pay cap would be breached through the use of top-up payments.

"Whether contractual obligations and due process take place, let it take place. But sort it out and be very clear about it, and I hope that can conclude next week," he said.

"You cannot have a situation where ordinary citizens give their hard-earned money through direct debit, flag days, subscriptions or whatever method, and they give that money on the understanding that it is going to go for charity purposes, for which it is intended."

By Mary Regan, Irish Examiner Deputy Political Editor in Tokyo.

UPDATE:

Sinn Féin has calling for an independent inquiry into 'top-up' payments in the Health Service.

The party’s Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin says he believes the issue goes “far beyond” the Central Remedial Clinic.

Health Minister James Reilly says the HSE will take “whatever action is necessary” to make sure hospitals and health agencies fully comply with pay rules.

The Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin says all public sector bodies must be transparent about their rates.

“In the number of cases that have some into the public light, there are differences,” he said.

“Some are accruing additional payments because of additional work, some have top-ups from different types of funding.

“So we just need to have transparency to see where exactly pay is coming from, and that it is ultimately at the appropriate rate.”

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