Friday, February 26, 2010

Main opposition party, Fine Gael, issues press statement calling for Government investigation into the Irish Red Cross

On Wednesday 24th February 2010, the Fine Gael opposition spokesperson on Defence, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, issued a press release calling for an independent government investigation into the Irish Red Cross. The press release was issued following lengthy questioning of Minister Pat Carey (who is representing the Taoiseach who has taken over the Department of Defence following the resignation of former Minister, Willie O' Dea) by Deputy Deenihan and Deputy Brian O' Shea, Labour Party spokesperson on Defence. This is the second time in weeks that a government minister has been extensively questioned in Dail Eireann on the never ending problems at the Irish Red Cross (see previous article on this blog).

In the Fine Gael press release Deputy Deenihan stated 'The Government's refusal to intervene in the ongoing difficulties in the Irish Red Cross, especially in light of high profile resignations and an internal governance rating that is the second lowest on the International Red Cross scale, means they are effectively washing their hands of the Society's difficulties'. Deputy Deenihan went on to say 'the temporary working group tasked with looking at the workings of the IRC is an internal body and does not have the independence needed to effect real change. If the issues revolve around internal governance, it makes no sense to have the existing management assess itself..... The Red Cross is Government funded to the tune of almost €1 million annually. It is a worldwide organisation that depends heavily on its international reputation in carrying on its invaluable work. That reputation has been undermined in the IRC and the Minister must act to restore it'

Deputy Deenihan's full press release is available on the Fine Gael website.

RTE News also reported on the story with the headline 'Questions over accounts at Irish Red Cross'. The full report can be found at:

This blog is of the view, as are many dedicated Irish Red Cross members including current governance members who this blog is in contact with, that both Deputy Deenihan and Deputy O'Shea have done and continue to do a great service to the Irish Red Cross. The endemic problems that afflict the organisation have existed for twenty years and it is now time to have them addressed once and for all. It is heartening to know that two highly regarded and respected public representatives feel the same.

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