Minister needs plan of action to recoup millions from St. John of Gods – Imelda Munster TD

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.”

Imelda Munster: Publish St John of Gods Audit

imelda-munster-tdSinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has called on the Taoiseach to publish the audit of St. John of Gods as soon as it is completed.

Deputy Munster said “Given the financial misappropriations that have come to light in recent years whereby money was taken from residents own bank accounts on numerous occasions to pay for medical devices that should have been supplied by St. John of Gods and other incidents where personal funds of a resident were used to buy cutlery, soft furnishings and a fireplace, we need the audit published.

“These shocking revelations have come to light and we still do not know the full extent of this practice.

“It is clear that there has been little or no detailed oversight or scrutiny by the HSE despite the fact that this large organisation has been given vast amounts of public money. It is also clear that the charity handed over almost €650,000.00 to a single executive to buy out a pension liability and at the same time saw fit to take money from resident’s personal bank accounts for medical devices and aids that they should have supplied to residents.

“The audit is currently being conducted on the finances of St John of Gods and I have asked the Taoiseach to give a commitment to publish the audit on completion, so the public can see the full extent of the financial misappropriations and irregularities and see exactly where and how the millions of taxpayer’s money has been spent”.