Rehab was aware of chief executive’s link to import firm ‘from outset’

COLM KEENA, Public Affairs Correspondent

2nd May 2011

FINANCIAL DEALINGS between Rehab and a company linked to its chief executive, Angela Kerins, were notified to the disability organisation’s board “from the outset”, according to a spokesman.
The company, Complete Eco Solutions, is owned by Ms Kerins’s husband, Seán Kerins, her brother Joseph McCarthy, and Frank Flannery, a senior adviser to Taoiseach Enda Kenny and a former chief executive of Rehab.
It has been involved in importing material from China for the making of coffins by Rehab, which conducts a diverse range of commercial activities.
A Rehab spokeswoman said the relationship arose when a manager in Rehab discussed the possible importation of materials from China with Mr McCarthy, who has extensive knowledge of doing business in China.
“The conflict was notified to the board from the outset and Angela was not involved. It was all as per good corporate governance.”
Mr Kerins, Mr Flannery and Mr McCarthy each have a one-third shareholding in the company, which was incorporated in December 2009 and is not yet required to file any accounts with the Companies Office.
Mr Flannery said the main focus of Complete Eco Solutions was the alternative energy sector in countries such as France and Spain, although it had not yet started trading.
It was also involved in supplying some items to Irish supermarkets. “We are also giving some help to Rehab. There is no money in it for us.
“We responded to a request from Rehab and we did our best and we don’t see ourselves having a continuing role in the business.”
Mr Flannery did not want to put a value on the material it had imported to date for Rehab.
He said the company started to help Rehab after it was approached by a former executive of the disability group who was working on a new way of creating employment.
Mr Flannery is a director of two Rehab companies, Rehab Lotteries and Rehab Industries.
Mr McCarthy is understood to have a substantial electronics business in China.
Rehab had a turnover of €202 million in 2009 and produced an operating surplus of €1.9 million.
It receives tens of millions of euro in State support from a range of Government departments and agencies as well as from the National Lottery.
Last week chairman of the Rehab board Brian Kerr disclosed that Ms Kerins salary in 2010 was €234,000 and that she received no bonus payment. He said her salary had been reduced by 10 per cent in 2010.
The group does not disclose directors’ remuneration in its annual accounts. Mr Kerr said he was issuing the statement in response to “wild and unfair speculation” in the media.
This was a reference to reports that her total package in 2009 might have been in excess of €400,000.
Yesterday the Rehab spokeswoman said Ms Kerins’s total package in 2010 was less than €260,000.
This included pension contributions and the use of a car. There was no bonus paid in 2010, he said. “There has been no bonus for a number of years.”
Ms Kerins is chairwoman of the Equality Authority and has served on a number of state boards.


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