Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Department of Defence and Senior Management: Part of the problem at the Irish Red Cross?

In recent exchanges in Dail Eireann and in virtually every response to the constant supply of Parliamentary Questions the Minister of Defence, Willie O'Dea, insists he does not want to get involved in the day to day affairs of the Irish Red Cross. The Minister fails, however, to recognise that his selection of Government nominees to the Irish Red Cross Board has consistently contributed to the woes of the organisation.

It is important, however, to state at the outset of this article that the majority of Government nominees to the Irish Red Cross Board have always acted and behaved to the highest ethical standards and whose integrity, dedication and commitment could never be questioned. Having said that, of the group of Board members who have dominated and controlled the Irish Red Cross with an iron fist the Minister is responsbile for appointing a number of them. The vast majority of the problems that have beset the Irish Red Cross for two decades can be traced back to a handful of people, at least two, if not three, of whom are appointed by the Minister for Defence. Minister O'Dea is fully aware of who these Board members are and despite many requests over many years from concerned members of the Irish Red Cross not to re-appoint these people he has always ignored such pleas. The Minister cannot absolve himself from the problems of the Irish Red Cross by saying he will not interfere in an independent organisation when in fact his very actions in Board member selection are a major contributing factor to the dysfunctional nature of the organisation. It is incumbent on the Minister to finally and urgently address this issue as his continued failure to remove these troublesome and embarrassing members from the Board is only exacerbating the deep seated problems at the Society. The Minister must also immediately appoint a new Chairperson to replace Mr. David Andrews who resigned in December 2009. The current vaccum at the top of the Irish Red Cross and the uncertainty it is creating is not helpful during such a difficult time. It is hoped the Minister will appoint a strong, experienced and committed individual who will have the character and temperment to drive through the much needed governancee reform.

The other question that has been exercising the mind of this blog for some time is where are the senior managers of the Irish Red Cross and why is it that they appear silent, fearful and incapable of demanding change and professionalism? This blog has previously commented on the question marks surrounding the current Acting Secretary General but what of the other senior managers? There are managers heading up the national department, overseas department, finance department, communications department and fundraising department. These managers appear impotent in their ability to effect positive change. Why is this? Are they simply afraid like many others within the Irish Red Cross? Or maybe they are not sufficently qualified or experienced enough to deal with complex problems such as those that afflict the organisation. Are these managers part of the problem in fact or are they suffereing in silence and fear? This blog would like to see a little more back bone, courage and leadership from these people. Questions need to be asked of and answers sought from these so called 'senior managers'.


  1. Anonymous2:12 PM

    I have heard that certain people left within the management team have been very vocal in appealing for change but keep coming up against opposition. Would be interesting to hear the opinions of all the staff within the oganisation - see how tied up they are with the politics!

  2. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Could you provide more details on how Training and Services Manager, Community Services Manager recently left the organisation?