Sinn Féin TD for Louth and Meath East Imelda Munster has this week raised the matter of the HSE audit into St John of God’s services in the Dáil with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
The audit has resulted in the HSE telling the order to pay back the value of the payments made to senior executives over several decades into its community services.
The Minister for Health Simon Harris has called on the St. John of God order to repay the money, however there has been no indication given as to how the order might be compelled to do so. Deputy Munster raised the fact that in 2013 the government had asked the order to abide by public pay norms, a call which was ignored by St John of God’s.
Speaking today, Teachta Munster said:
“We have been here before. It’s not good enough for the Minister for Health to merely ‘call on’ the order to repay the money. We need more than just lip service on this issue, we need concrete plans for a specific mechanism that will compel the order to recoup the millions of euro that has been misspent over several decades.
“This money should be used for community services which provide assistance to those with intellectual disability, problems with mental health and housing issues.
“Minister Harris has said himself that the practice was absolutely contrary to public policy. Paying lip service is not enough. If he is serious about resolving this issue he needs to outline his plans to ensure that this money is paid back to the community service fund where it can be put to good use helping those who require these services.”