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Rehab, tracker mortgages and all the day's rolling news with Genevieve Carbery

Genevieve Carbery Thu, Feb 27
 
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  • 08:50
    Today's big story will be Rehab as it is to answer questions at the Public Accounts committee. The charity told the committee last night it will only answer questions in relation to State funding it receives

    Its chairman, John McGuinness, said however that Rehab was a “huge organisation” and that the committee wanted to explore issues such as how the salary of its chief executive had been benchmarked.

    It all kicks off at 10am. ****grabs popcorn*****
  • 09:05

    It’s the Irish Oscar nominations today, the IFTA nominations are out and Love/Hate has eight nominations including two for best actress (television) Charlie Murphy Mary Murray and best actor for Tom Vaughan Lawlor.  


    Best Film nominations are Byzanthium, Calvary, Run & Jump, The Sea and The Stag/

     

    Director Film  John Butler, The Stag ,  Neil Jordan, Byzantium ,  John Michael McDonagh, Calvary ,  Ruairi Robinson, The Last Days on Mars  


    Actor in a Lead Role Film -  Brendan Gleeson, Calvary,  Domhnall Gleeson, About Time ,  Ciarán Hinds, The Sea,  Andrew Scott, The Stag

    Actress in a Leading Role Film:  Antonia Campbell-Hughes, 3096 Days,  Jane McGrath, Black Ice ,  Saoirse Ronan, Byzantium ,  
    Kelly Thornton, Life’s A Breeze  





    It’s Genevieve Carbery on the Daily Wire – you can contact me on Twitter @genevievecarber

  • 09:16

    So Putin has ordered at least 110,000 servicemen, 200 aircraft and 880 tanks and 80 ships have been ordered to in a “military exercise” in a western area bordering Ukraine.
    ****wipes the sweat off my brow****

    But don’t worry the Russian defence minister has insisted the war games were not linked to events in Ukraine.

    ****Ah a total and utter coincidence***

    But he also announced that Moscow was “watching carefully what is happening in Crimea . . . We are taking measures to ensure the security of sites, infrastructure and arsenals of the Black Sea fleet.”****Hides under desk***

    Daniel McLaughlin has more from Ukraine here.

    Meanwhile this morning in Crimea.  

  • 09:24

    Remember those innocent days when we stood up on buses and said 'I don't know what a tracker mortage is'. Watch here.  Well there's great excitement this morning as PTSB is to announce it will allow existing customers sell their homes and take out new mortgages while retaining a significant portion of their tracker loans.

    It is understood it is likely to charge a slightly higher margin than currently applies when issuing the new trackers, Conor Pope writes here. We will have more details after the announcement at 11am.  

  • 09:24
  • 09:35

    Roysh lods, fancy a point in The Three Tun Tavern, it’s totes new (ok ok I know what you’re thinking I should never be given a job writing the Ross O’Carroll Kelly column).

    The point is first of British pub chain JD Wetherspoon’s expansion into Ireland is to open in July 8th in the south Dublin suburb of Blackrock on July 8th. The name apparently chosen by locals with 150 offering suggestions . More here.

  • 09:44

    The wife of an Irish lawyer gave birth in the street in New York city after a taxi she waved down to take her to hospital was swiped by a passer-by.
    Fortunately/Unfortunately for her the scene was caught on camera by a passing news crew.
    Hence this news clip from ABC – with the puntastic tagline - infant born in a New York minute. Other puns on the story today include "Made in Manhattan" (Mail).


  • 09:44
  • 10:19
    “I wouldn’t be happy if I was you and the taxpayers of Ireland. I would be knocking on the doors of parliament asking Mr Noonan what is going on,” that’s the message from Dragon Duncan Bannatyne to us today who says we lost out on up  to €30m after his Anglo loans were sold at a discount.  
  • 10:28
    So Dublin's grand marshal for 2014 is not Panti. It's Stephen Roche. For those of you asking who is Stephen Roche, what are you doing on the internet while in school? In 1987 he became the second of only two cyclists to win the Triple Crown of victories in the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia stage races plus he world road race championship (thanks Wikipedia).  You may also remember him from an ad for Galtee cheese if I remember correctly.
  • 10:33
    So Rehab's Angela Kerins has arrived into the committee room with her entourage. Dun dun dun. Watch here. Kerins apparently wanted to show a video but "our technical people tell us that is not possible", chairman John McGuinness said. Oh I am really dying to see what's on it now.  
  • 10:43
    So Piers Morgan has cleary eaten humble pie with the cancellation of his CNN show, ego is shattered.  
  • 10:46
    HSE director general Tony O'Brien is giving a lot of figures in his opening statement at the #PAC (overloading my little brain). Waiting to hear from Angela Kerins.  
  • 10:50

    Ukraine has been playing Where’s Yanokovich for days now. Here he is. Well here’s his statement.

    And he says he is still the legitimate president of his country and that people in its southern regions would never accept the "lawlessness" brought by leaders chosen by a mob.


    Russian news agencies quoted a statement by Yanukovich as saying he had asked Moscow to guarantee his personal safety.

    The statement could not be independently verified and it was not clear where Yanukovich was, although some media groups have suggested he is in Moscow after fleeing Ukraine.

  • 10:54
    That St Patrick's Day tweet of Stephen Roche again - it didn't appear properly earlier (I blame leprechaun gremlins)
  • 11:00
    "We are Ireland's largest glass recycler"....#newfactoftheday from Angela Kerins at the PAC  “We are not a state run organisation nor are any of our staff public servants......we are responsible for paying all our own bills....we have no guarantees from Irish government departments to cover any of our deficits,” she said.
  • 11:07
    “Our structure is unusual and yes we are unique but that makes us no more valuable and effective” Angela Kerins tells the PAC.
  • 11:11

    On salaries, Kerins says the Group managment team are 20% below remuneration of the current market median . They are complaint with public pay policy. The CEOs pay is not paid out of money from the public.  

  • 11:14
    There is an "unfair cap" on the prizes that charity lotteries can offer which is not applied to the National Lottery, Angela Kerins tells the #PAC.  
  • 11:16
    Two hundred years of progress later and there’s only about 25 extra women in the current Dail (and a lot less red). This was tweeted today by the National Library.  
  • 11:21

    Contents of THAT video finally revealed....... The best people to tell about Rehab are those who use it, Kerins tells the PAC. We did have a video of Rehab clients to play and I believe it is not possible to do that, Kerins says.

    Kerins isn’t happy that details of the lottery business and service level agreement are on the PAC website, gives an advantage to competitors.  

  • 11:24
    The secretary general of NATO has tweeted a message for Russia on Ukraine. Walking on diplomatic eggshells. I wonder how many times he reread this tweet. Not sent from the bus I'd imagine.  
  • 11:32

    Good news for all you outdoorsy types the The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland's first long-distance touring route, stretching along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork was launched today. Go forth and be active.




    Michael Ring launched it but Leo totally stole the show with this country casual ensemble tweet.


  • 11:36

    Claws out at the PAC – chairman John McGuinness said to Kerins - there might be those who hang on your ever word– so they might consider your comment as a ticking off for PAC. (Ms Kerins was annoyed over information put up on the PAC site).
    But in I preparation for meeting we had to ask each organisation for a submission..I suggest you take the matter up with agencies that gave the information.

  • 11:38
    Mary Lou McDonald comments that unusally there are as many members as witnesses. She asks why former Rehab CEO Frank Flannery is not at the meeting. "You have in front of you the people who are most competent to speak on the salary of remuneration of the staff who are funded by the HSE and Solas" Kerins said.  
  • 11:39
    Frank Flannery from time to time provided consultancy support to Rehab group, but as a consultant. I am not really in a position to say much more than that, Kerins says.  
  • 11:45

    Mary Lou McDonald asks why it was necessary for Rehab legal people to contact the committee yesterday.
    “There is nothing wrong with our legal adviser to seek clarity on that and ensure that is the parameter of it. That is quite a reasonable thing to ask.” Kerins says.


    McDonald say it was “probably quite reasonable” to write to website Irish Central “because you didn’t like an article” they published.


    “I am a citizen of this country and I don’t believe if I want to vindicate my rights there is anything wrong with that”.

  • 11:52

    I have no idea what I have by the time I retire in relation to that (pension) scheme, Angela Kerins says

    I have given more (financial information) than many people ...I do not intend to give any more personal financial information, she says.


    “May I ask deputy McDonald why is this relevant” Kernis says as McDonald asks what former CEO Frank Flannery’s pension is.


    “Because I am exploring the issue of reward pay and pension in the Rehab group”, McDonald says.

  • 11:54
    “You are underpaid by €24,000” McDonald says after Kerins says the base salary on the median of comparative organisation is 10% out (total 20% out).
  • 12:01

    This one is my pick for quote of the day so far: “Are we operating on completely different planets?” McDonald asks.

    Average remuneration (of charity CEOs) is €59,000.... “You are considerably at variance with those types of level of pay” McDonald says.


    “It is a very good point you raise deputy McDonald....the not for profit sector is a broad church... The post of chief executive cannot be evaluated in name only you need to look at the total size and breadth of the organisation to evaluate what is the proper remuneration.” Kerins says.

    “You earn more than the president of the United States of America, the Taoiseach” ....you operate in a sector and to an ethos of social inclusion and social engagement, you rely on very large quantities of state funding and charitable donations ..... McDonald says.

  • 12:08

    “What year did Rehab decide to try out this coffin-making enterprise?” Mary-Lou McDonald asks.


    McDonald earlier asks about two people involved in this coffin company Complete Eco Solutions– one being Frank Flannery. The other being Ms Kerins’ brother Joseph McCarthy. Kerins confirms that her husband was also a director at some stage.



    “To the best of my knowledge.....these folks were helping the organisation to develop that business but the only involvement was in that pilot stage"


    Mary Lou – are you uncomfortable with the notion of family members haveing a commercial relationship with Rehab given your position


    Kerins – I would always be uncomfortable... to the degree that I absented myself from any decision.

  • 12:18

    Where else would you go for your little First Holy Communion angel’s rig-out than that bastion of fashion and Catholicism, Aldi.

    In a press release today the German discount supermarket says it is offering communion dresses for the first time at €24.99.

    According to the blurb one dress features a satin-bodice with princess seams and an embroidered and sequined skirt. The second dress features a satin-bodice with two layers of the finest organza over a satin skirt for added fullness.

    Form an orderly queue now (but not till March 16th)

  • 12:32
    So in the era of the camera phone and the selfie, asking your sporting hero for a snap doesn't always go well....especially not if he's from Cork.
  • 12:40

    Grammer/apostrophe fans, marker's at the ready (I know its markers I'm just messing).


    The Government has launched yet another action plan for jobs (how many is that now?). Read here. It came as the CSO announced the unemployment rate had fallen to 12 per cent, with an increase of 61,000 jobs in the number of people at work.

  • 12:46
    Angela Kerins has told the PAC she drives a four-year-old Audi Q4.
  • 12:53
    The parliament of Crimea has announced it will hold a referendum to determine the  Ukraine region’s future, Russia Today is reporting. The referendum is about  “improving the status of autonomy and expanding its powers”, it says.  
  • 12:54
    No lunchbreak for Rehab or the PAC. A quick tea-break now and they'll be back in 15 minutes. Cue awkward small-talk over soggy biscuits after that fiery morning.  
  • 13:11

    Former economy minister Arseny Yatseniuk has just been appointed by the Ukrainian parliament to be prime minister at the head of a government of national unity.
    Spilling the beans on entering office he says $37bm of credit received by Yanukovich government has disappeared and in the last three years about $70bhn went out of Ukraine’s financial system into offshore accounts.

  • 13:37

    My salary is not paid from any of this income from the Irish State, Angela Kerins says. Her salary comes from the “general income” of the Rehab group.  There is “more than enough income coming in there to covery my salary. It’s not dependent on the fundraising income”.

  • 13:41

    “We don’t enjoy the comfort of being a public sector organisation” Kerins says as Rehab has to “pick up its own bills”.
    It would be “a narrow and misleading” comparison to compare rehab to a normal charity, its much wider. But it has that not for profit ethos that the private sector doesn’t have.

  • 13:46
    Tiny violins all round at the PAC.  “My contract can provide a bonus of up to 30 or 35%, I have never received that. I would have to meet particular targets to achieve a particular bonus. The reality is I haven’t had it for many years and it isn’t my intention to be looking for it.” Angela Kerins says.
  • 13:53
    Deputy Kieran O’Donnell to Kerins – "I hate that word complicated. Everything can be explained."
  • 14:02

    “Scratch cards are the sick baby in the family” John McGuire of Rehab Lotteries says. He holds up a bunch of scratch cards to show the committee.


    He said Rehab won’t get out of the scratch card business as they are always hopeful a government will bring fairness into the market.


    Kieran O’Donnelll TD described the small profits from Rehab scratch cards are like “chasing the dragon”.

  • 14:09
    There are data protection issues here for individuals and privacy issues here...you cannot disclose privacy issues on individuals if they don’t agree.....If somebody does waiver their rights it can be seen as under duress, Kerins says.  
  • 14:13

    TD Gerald Nash asks about a newspaper report that locks were changed on Rehab’s finance department.
    Kerins laughs and shakes head. “There is no reason or no way someone would be changing doors on a department of finance. I have no knowledge of anything. I couldn’t even understand why that would be done.”

  • 14:17
    Wannabe homeowners rejoice. House prices have fallen for the first time in almost a year – with most of the decline due to a 1.3% fall in Dublin. Of course prices are still 6.3% higher than this time last year but it’s the first recorded fall since last March......so that makes a €400,000 house now €394,800 (*****shakes out pockets, still not enough change in there*****)
  • 14:33
    “I’ve seen the scratch cards thank you I don’t need to see them again”. Eoghan Murphy TD says to John McGuire of Rehab as he asks him about income breakdown of the Lottery tickets.  
  • 14:37

    “In effect you are right, the only real money we get back is net of the prizes and net of the commission” John McGuire says of the scratch cards.
    “When someone buys a ticket from Rehab they are not giving Rehab any money at all,” Murphy says
    “A small amount....If someone wants to give a euro to Rehab there is a collection box on the counter.” McGuire says.
    “The purpose of the scheme as you run it is to get money from the Government” Eoghan Murphy says. McGuire disagrees.

  • 14:45

    Have a web cam and a Yahoo! account? You’ll want to read this.
    The Guardian is reporting that Britain’s surveillance agency and the NSA intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing. It says a surveillance programme collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases.

  • 14:48
    Meanwhile in other lottery news today:  
  • 14:55

    “It’s quite clear it can’t be used for admin” Murphy says of the charitable lotteries fund.

    “At no time when we were submitted for this scheme were we ever told any of the areas were not compliant.” Ms Kerins says.

  • 15:04
    “You guys dropped the ball, you didn’t come back to them” TD Simon Harris tells Brian Purcell Sec Gen of the Department of Justice regarding Rehab audit.  
  • 15:10

    “My reaction when I read the Rehab group statement was one step forward two steps backwards” in terms of we’ll tell you about the CEOs salary but other senior people in two years time, Simon Harris says.

    “There is a general desire to do this” Kerins says.

  • 15:16
    Merkel has visited Cameron in Downing Street today. Someone compared the scene to an Ikea catalogue and this happened. (oh wonderful internet) . She will have tea with the Queen later.  Read more about the visit here.  
  • 15:18
    We need to really challenge the structure and see if it's fit for purpose, Angela Kerins says of Rehab. If there’s people who want to help or have some ideas we’d love to hear from them, she says. (form an orderly queue now no pushing)  
  • 15:28
    Get the train? ...your daily commute may soon be disrupted.  Siptu members have rejected Irish Rail cost saving measures.  
  • 15:35
    Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton has been doing a live Twitter Q&A at the catchy hashtag #APJQA (I’ve no idea what this stands for). Some tweeters have been having a little fun. Funny enough this particular question hasn’t been answered yet.  
  • 15:37
    Kerins continues to defend her salary at the PAC.....  Some salaries depend on their whole fundraising income to pay them and some do not...I have no problem contributing to the total running costs of a charity. ...the work that I do goes way beyond charitable activities, she says.
  • 15:43
    Shane Ross begins questions at the PAC. ***Gets a fresh batch of popcorn****
  • 15:46

    Shane Ross asks people in the room for their remuneration.


    John McGuire says he is there as a non-executive director and has retired. “I am here as a private individual”


    “Salary and the related details do constitute personal data. The staff have a right and I am not going to break their rights...If I talk about my salary I will de facto be breaching their confidentiality”, Ms Kelly of Rehab says.

  • 15:48
    HSE chief Tony O’Brien says he is legally obliged to give information he has on salaries to the committee if requested and has absolute privilege to do this. He will give it to the clerk but won’t read it out. It is only for the entities the HSE has salary agreements with. The documentation is now being handed to the clerk of the committee.
  • 15:53

    Shane Ross: Instead of bringing the people we asked you to bring in, you brought in the people we didn’t ask you to bring in.


    We asked specifically for the remuneration cttee to come in, the chairman to come in and the former chief executive to come in – that was so we could find out matters that are exercising the public.


    Why isn’t Mr Flannery here – he is on the board of five of your subsidiaries/companies and the national learning network.


    What we haven’t achieved today is any opening up of transparency.

  • 15:56

    Why do you think we asked the remuneration committee here? Shane Ross says
    It is believed it is up the to the Rehab group to field the team, Kerins says.
    We are entitled to ask who we think would be useful to us. And for you to come back and say we decided someone else, is somewhat absurd, Ross says.

  • 16:00
    I have for hours here been asked questions in relation to my salary. I have given a full report of my terms and conditions....I really don’t intend to provide any further additional information......I am really not prepared to discuss my personal details any further, Kerins says.
  • 16:10
    Great news for fans of unique continuity announcer Julian Simmons, UTV Ireland is to begin broadcasting in January 2015, the BAI has announced as it signs a ten year contract. For Corrie and Emmerdale fans , the soaps will be moving to the new channel.  It’s not clear if the veteran announcer will feature in UTV Ireland.
  • 16:10
    “I find this whole experience pretty worthless to be honest.”  Shane Ross tells the PAC as he continues to question Rehab.  
  • 16:15

    So we appear to have found Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovich. He plans to hold a new conference at the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don tomorrow at 1 pm GMT, according to Russian news agencies.  

  • 16:17

    TD John Deasy had no questions but strong words for Rehab: “I came in with an open mind...listening to the interaction between youself Ms Kerins and other members of the committee....I think you’ve been evasive and I don’t think any of this has been necessary at all” You need to “get a grip on yourself- you are a charitable organisation with charitable status.”


    The manner in which your solicitors contacted this committee yesterday was “incredible” and “completely unnecessary”, he said.  

  • 16:40
    First the trains, now the planes. Fun day at the office for Leo Varadkar.  
  • 16:46
    Having finally finished House of Cards season 2 last night, and there being a big hole in my life now, here's something to fun. How to dress like Claire Underwood.  
  • 16:50
    “Our motivation is to get clarity here for everybody” Angela Kerins tells the PAC. ***Head in my hands after watching over six hours of a meeting***
  • 17:07

    PAC chairman John McGuinness: I didn’t want to say this at the outset....but I thought that the phone call from your solicitors to the legal service here in the house was unnecessary. And having gone though the hearing from 10am until now, a lot of the information we wanted, you gave it without this perception that there was going be some sort of stand off....


    He said the information the committee received from the HSE on Rehab salaries should be “put into the public domain”

  • 17:14

    John McGuinness repeatedly asks if the invitation was extended to former CEO Frank Flannery and the remuneration committee to attend.
    After several questions Ms Kerins answers: “Everybody was aware of the invitation”. “I made people aware”.
    “I spoke to Mr Flannery and I made him aware of the email”
    McGuinness says: “It’s unhelpful that that didn’t happen. It gives rise to speculation and tension that is unnecessary.”

  • 17:16
    After almost seven hours the PAC committe has just adjourned. **numb fingers from typing**