Sunday, February 7, 2010

Irish Red Cross spends hundreds of thousands of Euros on consultancy fees

The Irish Red Cross has a long and chequered history of paying vast sums of money on consultancy fees. In 2007 staff at the headquaters formally wrote to the Chairman at the time and the Central Council documenting their concerns at such unnecessary waste and questioning the process by which consultants were appointed and paid. It seems these concerns fell on deaf ears as a number of members of the Executive Committee of the Irish Red Cross have reported to this blog that the recently appointed Acting Secretary General, Declan O' Sullivan, who worked as a finance consultant for the Irish Red Cross during 2008 and 2009 was paid over €320,000 in consultancy fees during this twenty four month period or approximately €160,000 in each of the two years. One Executive member even went so far as saying 'it may in fact be much more'. It should be pointed out that in 2009 the Irish Red Cross ran up a large deficit of over €700,000 euros. It would appear consultancy fees contributed considerably to this deficit.

Another Executive Committee member speaking in confidence to this blog stated 'it is hard to even begin to justify such expenditure on consultancy fees at any time, never mind during a time of recession and economic crisis. In most organisations the recruitment of consultants and paying of consultancy fees are the first expenditures cut back during a financial crisis. It seems the Irish Red Cross was the exact opposite and saw its consultancy fees rocket during 2008 and 2009, the primary beneficiary being Mr. O' Sullivan. Given that the organisation ran up a deficit of €700,000 in 2009 it is also hard to see what benefit accrued to the Irish Red Cross by keeping an expensive finance consultant on its books. It would appear Mr. O' Sullivan's 'expertise' failed to prevent the financial implosion that occured so at the very least questions must be asked as to the benefit of his services'.

In December 2009 Mr. O' Sullivan was appointed Acting Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross for a period of eighteen months, a matter this blog has previously written about. The organisation has stated that his replacement and the recruitment of a permanent long term Secretary General will commence in the second half of 2010 with an appointment expected in mid 2011. It seems nobody this blog has spoken to knows exactly why this process cannot begin immediately and why there is a need to wait until 2011.

On a separate but related issue this blog has recently heard rumours that four ex senior managers, three of whom were made redundant (and received redundancy packages) during January 2010 and one who left the organisation voluntarily, have all been hired back on consultancy contracts. Mr. O' Sullivan apparently signed four consultancy contracts very recently. It must be said this rumour is as yet unconfirmed but we are presently contacting certain Central Council and Executive Committee members for clarification. This blog will also attempt to speak with the four ex staff in question although it must be said they may not wish to comment.


  1. Anonymous2:17 PM

    seems greed has won out again, ministers, senators, and now the red cross, a curse on all your houses.

  2. There are many other organisations and charities in Ireland who do same. Its a pity. I say thank you to the site owner who exposed the evils associated with the Irish Red Cross.

  3. Anonymous6:36 PM

    Never,Never again will I donate money to the Irish Red Cross,until such time as the current situation within same is fully investigated,I am sickened to hear the amount paid by this organization to consultants,it is morally wrong,itis indeed worrying when you read details of this current situation,Minister Kileen should have this investigation forthwith,failure to do so will result in the complete annilathion of the Fianna Fail Party,failure to act will again prove that this goverment has failed the Irish Nation and its people whom have over the years given money in good faith to this organization,act now Minister,period.

  4. Anonymous2:26 PM

    dont always believe what you read

  5. Anonymous1:08 PM

    I have see first hand in Sri Lanka the excellant work of the Irish RC in post Tsunami hospital reconstruction. The dedication and committment of Irish RC delegates and national staff is exemplary. Irish public funding is being put to good use rebuilding much needed health infrastructure. I sincerely hope the actions of a few dont tarnish and hinder the good work going on in the field.

  6. Anonymous11:46 AM

    No doubt you would have seen excellent work of delegates in the field. The problem is that even Red Cross delegates in the field do not have access to audited accounts or to project management accounts which could provide for accountability to beneficiaries, donors and implementors. In the case of hospital reconstruction in Sri Lanka; it would be interesting to know if the money was channelled through SLRCS, the International Federation or if financial control was under direct IRC control. Those who were close to the RC/RC operation in Sri Lanka would know how difficult it was to achieve transparent contracted construction. Those who would question the IRC integrity are likely to be more concerned with their responsibilities to the poor and to the kind donors or involuntary taxpayers than to the organisation which has understandably lost trust.