Frank Flannery cancels PAC appearance, after Kerins does same

Former Rehab CEO Angela Kerins' predecessor Frank Flannery will also not attend the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee tomorrow.

The news follows an earlier announcement by Ms Kerins' solicitors to the Committee that she would not be attending on medical advice, due to ill health.

They also poured cold water on the prospect of a future appearance by Ms Kerins, saying she had been "damaged and prejudiced" by the way in which the PAC conducted its last hearing with her in February.

The committee is to hold a second hearing on Rehab tomorrow, to discuss its use of more than €80m in public funding.

It means tomorrow's hearing will now only go ahead with Rehab's chairman Brian Kerr, its chief financial officer, and the chairman of its remuneration committee.

Mr Flanney said: "My basic rights seem to have been disregarded in the pursuit of a partisan political agenda designed to damage the Party I have been associated with for many years (Fine Gael) rather than to elicit further information on the matters under consideration and I would urge the committee to reconsider their entire approach."

"It is understood Rehab has been instructed that it cannot provide the PAC with any details as to Kerins' and Flannery's salaries, remuneration or pension entitlements".

Full statement from Frank Flannery:

"There are three important points I wish to make regarding the PAC and the matters relating to Rehab.

"I wish to restate my willingness to attend the PAC and to assist that important body with its enquiries where possible but regret that the agenda as set out has left me with no alternative but to decline the current invitation.

"1. The agenda as set out in the recent correspondence (see below) only deals with four specific issues over which I have no involvement, no authority or no knowledge, since I retired in 2006. Indeed during my tenure funds were not received under these specific headings. There have been numerous changes in the intervening period in the way public funds are administered. In fact, the agenda sent to me is identical to the original agenda as sent to the Rehab Group and does not address my suggestion for specific questions or issues of relevance to me.

"2. I would point out that the recent correspondence from the PAC is the first and only correspondence I have received from the PAC in the more than three months that these matters have been in the public domain.

"3. I am advised that certain members of the PAC, in their public utterances, have indicated that it is their intention to go far beyond their remit and this agenda and raise personal matters that are not relevant to the committee's work. It is also my understanding that the PAC may have been advised that these private matters are outside their remit. Some members do not seem to be taking into account the basic fundamental rights of a private citizen under natural and constitutional justice.

"Throughout my career I have always believed in the primacy of the institutions of the state and I have contributed to political life in the country to the best of my ability. However my basic rights seem to have been disregarded in the pursuit of a partisan political agenda designed to damage the Party I have been associated with for many years rather than to elicit further information on the matters under consideration and I would urge the committee to reconsider their entire approach.

"It is therefore with great regret that I must decline the recent invitation of the PAC at this time. I am available to the committee if they wish to determine a detailed and relevant agenda within the terms of reference of the PAC.

"I have written to the PAC setting out in detail my position.

"I will not be doing any media interviews and will be making no further comment on this matter.

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