Dundalk as it Happens
St John of God CEO John Pepper received undisclosed payment of more than €600,000
The CEO of the St John of God charity received an undisclosed payment of more than €600,000 form the charity group to discharge pension and employment liabilities.
Allegations of the payment to Haggardstown man John Pepper were made in a report in today’s Irish Times.
According to the paper, Mr Pepper, who earlier in the week revealed he receives a salary of €182,000 per annum, received easily the highest sum of the €1.64m which the St John of God group paid out to 14 senior executives in 2013.
The report said: “The payments were previously believed to range from €50,000 to €250,000 but The Irish Times has learned that the largest sum, paid to Mr Pepper, was more than €600,000. The second-largest payment was more than €100,000.
“Mr Pepper declined to say how much he received when interviewed last Monday, and St John of God declined to specify the amounts paid to any of the 14 staff.
“It said the consent of all executives would be required before this information was released.”
The payments were not declared in any publicly available accounts and the HSE, the Department of Health and the Department of Public Expenditure were unaware of them before an article in last weekend’s Irish Mail on Sunday.
Internal auditors for the HSE have been sent in to investigate the payments. The team will be led by the same officials who uncovered massive irregularities in spending at the suicide prevention charity Console.
A HSE circular issued last year stipulated that the maximum salary at Section 38 agencies should be €110,000.
The Dáil Public Accounts Committee, which carried out a lengthy investigation into unauthorised top-ups to Section 38 bodies three years ago, is expected to call representatives of St John of God to hearings.
Last month the charity group also came under fire for spending €23,000 on a trip to Florida.
Amongst the centres which St John of God’s run include Drumcar in Co Louth, which had a unit closed by HIQA in April following 30 breaches of care.
It also runs centres in Beaufort, Co Kerry, Blackrock, Co Dublin and Celbridge, Co Kildare with €125m of its €150m annual income coming from the taxpayer via the HSE. It also receives a number of grants from Government department and agencies.