The chairman of the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee demonstrated bias against the former chief executive of the Rehab Group Angela Kerins, the High Court has been told.

Ms Kerins' lawyers also told the court it was "incomprehensible" that at the start of a hearing of the committee on 10 April 2014, the chairman, Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, had wished Ms Kerins a speedy recovery after being told she was unwell, and then a number of hours later, had described her non-appearance as "deplorable".

Yesterday, the court heard that Ms Kerins had tried to end her life in March 2014, two weeks after her first appearance at the committee.

Senior Counsel John Rogers for Ms Kerins said the contradiction in Mr McGuinness' position supported his contention that a negative position towards Ms Kerins had been taken by the chairman.

He said his client was denounced and presented as someone who was not co-operating with the committee.

The court heard that Ms Kerins' solicitors had sent a letter to the committee after she became ill, to say she would not be available to attend the hearing on 10 April, on medical grounds.

Mr Rogers said that even if Ms Kerins had been able to attend another meeting of the committee, it was not clear what she would have had to deal with.

He said she would have had to defend her reputation as chief executive, she would have had to prove that she did not destroy Rehab and to prove another company she had been quizzed about was "kosher". 

He said she could not have had any confidence that the committee would deal dispassionately with her as they had shown their colours in an extraordinary way. 

They had prejudged her and sought to condemn her, the court heard.

Earlier, Mr Rogers said that at the February 2014 hearing, Ms Kerins had been publicly exposed with no notice whatsoever to questions about Rehab which inferred impropriety, a lack of transparency and even illegality.

He said the committee had no jurisdiction to question her about payments made by Rehab, which was a private entity.

The committee denies it acted outside its powers in relation to the conduct of the two hearings and also says Ms Kerins agreed voluntarily to attend the February hearing.

The action before three High Court judges will continue on Tuesday.