Flannery says FG role not 'unrelated' to PAC call

Friday 18 July 2014 20.43
Frank Flannery's firm Laragh Consulting, received over €409,000 from Rehab from 2007-2013 for consultancy services
Frank Flannery's firm Laragh Consulting, received over €409,000 from Rehab from 2007-2013 for consultancy services

Former Rehab chief executive and board member Frank Flannery has said his role as director of elections for Fine Gael was not "unrelated" to the decision by the Public Accounts Committee to "haul" him in to subject him to "their particular form of inquisition".

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr Flannery said the public is entitled to transparency on how tax payers' money is spent but the PAC is not entitled to break its own law.

He said "when lawmakers become law breakers the country is in a very dangerous situation."

He added that the Committee on Procedures and Privileges has done parliament and the Dáil committee system a "very necessary service in putting a halt to this particular gallop".

Mr Flannery he said he does not feel particularly vindicated by the decision of the Committee on Procedure and privileges. 

He said he is relieved but he feels "pretty battered" and "pretty bruised".

In April it was revealed that Mr Flannery's firm Laragh Consulting, received over €409,000 from Rehab from 2007-2013 for consultancy services.

The PAC had sought to compel Mr Flannery, a former Fine Gael political strategist, and former Rehab CEO Angela Kerins to appear before it.

On Wednesday, the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges declined to give PAC permission for compellability.

The Committee said it had made its decision based on legal advice from Senior Counsel Caroline Costello.

The advice stated that the PAC is only empowered to proceed with the examination of an account audited or report prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

It noted that Rehab is not audited by the C&AG and accordingly no report exists.

The PAC does not have the legal authority to examine the use of public monies by the Rehab group.

Both Mr Flannery and Ms Kerins refused to appear before the committee earlier in April.

However, the CPP has agreed to give the PAC the power to compel three witnesses in relation to the operation of the National Health and Local Authority Levy Fund.

The controversial training fund had millions of State financing.

The PAC was also given the power to compel a report into the operation of the fund.

Keywords: rehab