Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has said he is “flabbergasted” at reports that a Health Service Executive (HSE) audit found the St. John of God charity had not complied with public pay policy for over 30 years.
The Sinn Féin TD described reports that there had been confidential arrangements possibly in place that facilitated up to €6 million in payments to lay executive members as “absolutely obscene.”
This also allegedly included lump-sum payments made in 2013 of €1.8 million after the Vatican told the order to sort out any liabilities before restructuring. The largest one off payment apparently went to CEO John Pepper.
A number of donors to St John of God have said they will stop supporting the charity after the undisclosed payments to senior executives were revealed in the audit.
Deputy Seán Crowe said the St John of God charity is renowned for its many decades of work with vulnerable people.
“To say that I am flabbergasted and disturbed at the scale of the reported irregularities that have been uncovered there recently would be an understatement.
“The allegations of huge under the counter secret payments to lay executives are deeply troubling.
“I am also extremely concerned at comments that the religious order was not straight with the HSE over its financial governance and now cap in hand are requesting financial support of up €7 million to meet Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) standards.
“All these issues need to be thoroughly investigated in order to ensure that there is full transparency and accountability in respect of tax payers’ money. The amounts of money reportedly paid are simply staggering.
“All these reports are coming at a time when many other charities are still recovering from the lack of trust and fall out from the scandal around the suicide bereavement charity Console.”
St John of God provides mental health and intellectual disability services for 60,000 people across the State every day and receives nearly €130 million in State funding annually.