27/11/2009

Lenihan Accused Of 'Misleading' Daíl Over Molloy Pension

Opposition party Fine Gael has said Brian Lenihan "misled" the Daíl over the controversial severance package awarded to ousted FÁS Director, Rody Doyle.

Yesterday it emerged that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has approved terms of the generous package, which included a €1.1 million pension deal to the former FAS Director General, who left under accusations of mismanagement and exuberant expenses.

The news emerged during testimony from Ciaran Connolly, a Senior official at the Department of Finance, who has been giving evidence to the Public Accounts Committee.

Mr Connolly said he personally signed off on the deal but Mr Lenihan was aware of the terms.

This morning, Fine Gael's Enterprise spokesman Leo Varadkar said the finger of blame for pension pay-off pointed firmly at Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

The Fine Gael TD called on Minister Lenihan to immediately give a full statement on why he and his government signed off on the deal.

“The Minister has already told me in a Parliamentary Question that he was ‘satisfied that the terms of the package were appropriate in the circumstances’. Internal Department of Finance memos have confirmed that the deal was ‘not in accordance’ with official guidelines.

"Minister Lenihan has already misled the Dáil by claiming that that Rody Molloy’s deal was within official guidelines.

“The finger of blame for Mr Molloy’s disgraceful early retirement deal points firmly at Brian Lenihan. He must immediately make a full and frank statement about his role in this affair.”

Mr Molloy received a €1m top-up to his pension and a new car before leaving the agency. He was also paid a tax-free lump sum of over €300,000 and received a taxable ex-gratia payment of over €100,000.

The former Director's departure came amid the beginning of an ongoing Gardaí investigation into allegations of huge expenses claims by senior members of the employment agency under Mr Molloy's watch.

(DW/KMcA)


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