Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Irish Red Cross fails in bid to shut down Blog

The Irish Red Cross has failed in its costly and expensive legal action against Google Ireland to close down this Blog. The Irish Red Cross now intends to take legal action against Google International, with its headquarters based in California. The Irish Red Cross, according to the Examiner newspaper breaking news section which carried a press release issued by the Irish Red Cross, intends to sue Google International for the identity of the Blogger/s. The story has also been widely reported in the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Daily Mail and Evening Herald (all on 27th July 2010).

Taking a legal action against Google International, one of the world’s largest and best known companies, will cost the Irish Red Cross hundreds of thousands of Euros at a minimum. It is clear that certain individuals within the Irish Red Cross have a vicious vendetta against this Blog and are prepared to financially ruin the Irish Red Cross in their mindless and ultimately fruitless attempt to ‘get a name’.

According to the Examiner newspaper report the Irish Red Cross states that UPC has been ordered by the High Court to give information pertaining to the Blog. It is not clear whether this is in fact accurate or not but the legality of UPC providing confidential information on individuals to a third party must be called into question. Releasing such information would surely expose UPC to legal action itself. In addition one assumes Google International would have something to say about a company such as UPC releasing information about the identity of a blogger/blog site that is hosted by them. It can be taken with certainty that the vast resources of Google International will be made available to defend this action by the Irish Red Cross.

It would appear that the ruling elite and hired help of the Irish Red Cross are under the illusion that writing anonymously is actually illegal. Everyone else will know that writing anonymously or under a pseudonym is 100% perfectly legal. Every day around the world newspapers carry articles by people using a pseudonym where the true identity is unknown. Everyday hundreds of thousands of people write blogs and post comments on blog sites under ‘user names’ where their true identity is unknown. Tens of thousands of novels, books, magazines have been written where the true identity of the author is not revealed. It is the choice of an author whether to reveal his or her true name or write under a different one to preserve their identity. In the case of this Blog we have chosen the latter, something that is our legitimate prerogative. This Blog has always reported honestly and truthfully and it is this fact and this fact alone that so threatens the Irish Red Cross leadership and why they are so terrified of what is written.

What the leadership of the Irish Red Cross fails to appreciate is that THEY are the cause and reason for this Blog. THEY, through their actions, have provided the catalyst for this Blog and ONLY when things change in the Irish Red Cross will the Blog cease. THEY have created the need for the Blog. THEY are the reason for twenty years of nonstop parliamentary questions, staff discontent, staff dismissals, court cases against former Board members, negative media reports, Labour Court cases and constant calls for an independent investigation.

Any walk of life where there is intimidation, harassment, bullying, vindictiveness, deceit and punishment for speaking out and seeking openness and transparency will drive dissent and free speech underground. Reformists need to protect themselves in such an environment and hence the absolute need for anonymity. Without anonymity the reform agenda within the Irish Red Cross will be ruthlessly crushed as it has been done at every opportunity over the last twenty years. The desire to ‘out’ the Bloggers is driven by a desire to prevent reform and retain power at any cost. The motive is blind vindictiveness and is facilitated by using somebody else’s resources-which belong to the Irish Red Cross-which in turn are donated by the Irish public, the Irish Government and Irish businesses. The case against Google International is not so much an attempt to remove the Blog according to the Irish Red Cross press release but to reveal the Blogger’s identity so ‘action’ can be taken against them. This says it all. Punishment and revenge has long been the reward for those in life who seek reform and change.

If Google was forced to reveal the identity of the Bloggers, and it must be said writers of a relatively benign Blog compared to what is out there, it would have major global ramifications for Internet usage. Therefore one can expect the Irish Red Cross to be tied up in this legal action for many months and probably years. The final cost to the Irish Red Cross potentially risks the financial stability of the whole organisation while also jeopardising life saving humanitarian programs both in Ireland and overseas.

This Blog once again calls on the Acting Chairman of the Irish Red Cross, Tony (Anthony) Lawlor to instruct the Acting Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross, Declan O’Sullivan, to withdraw the action against Google International and instead focus attention on the reasons the Blog exists in the first place. That is where the solution lies, nowhere else.

Finally, we call on Minister of Defence, Tony Killeen, who has statutory responsibility for the Irish Red Cross, to intervene and to do so immediately and directly by appointing an independent investigation team. The Irish Red Cross is about to smash itself to bits on the rock of hubris, ego, misgovernance and decades of neglect.

On a separate matter:

This Blog commends the courage, bravery and integrity of Jenny Bulbulia. She has provided hope, encouragement and inspiration for all of us who believe in and are passionate about the Irish Red Cross.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Irish Red Cross's 'undeclared' €150,000 reported on front page of Sunday Times

Note: This article can also be read on our back up Blog sites:



The front page of the Sunday Times (25th July 2010) ran with the headline ‘Red Cross’s ‘undeclared’ $150,000’ . This story is a direct result of the extraordinarly foolish decision taken by the leadership of the Irish Red Cross to sue Google over this Blog. The prediction by the Blog authors that suing Google over a ‘free speech’ issue would result in the scandalous internal problems of the Irish Red Cross appearing in the media has now fully materialised. This Blog, however, certainly did not expect that the story would feature so visibly on the front page of such a prominent and highly respected publication as the Sunday Times. The reality though is that the scale and depth of Irish Red Cross problems are now sufficient for front page coverage of a Sunday newspaper. The Sunday Business Post, another highly respected Sunday newspaper, also carried a story on the Irish Red Cross suing Google on page 2 of its 25th July edition under the following headline ‘Irish Red Cross takes Google to court over critical postings on blog’ . In addition to these two newspapers the Irish Daily Mail is also interested in investigating the matter as it has posted a request on the comments section of this Blog.

The Sunday Times article leads its story with the following ‘A barrister has called on the government to intervene in the affairs of the Irish Red Cross (IRC) following the discovery of an undeclared bank account containing €150,000 intended for victims of the Asian tsunami of 2004. Jenny Bulbulia was commenting for the first time on her resignation last year as government appointed member of IRC’s central council. She cited what she claimed were low corporate governance standards’ . According to the Sunday Times the ‘The IRC has said there is ‘nothing untoward’ about the account containing the money for tsunami victims. For the benefit of new readers to this Blog let us explain that nothing is likely to be further from the truth. In early 2005 over €150,000 was collected in Tipperary from the public in response to the Irish Red Cross Tsunami Appeal. For all of 2005, 2006, 2007 and most of 2008 this money sat in a Tipperary bank account belonging to the branch of Tipperary Red Cross, the very branch the current Acting Chairman (and serving Vice Chairman for twenty one years) of the Irish Red Cross, Tony (Anthony) Lawlor, is also chairman of. Following internal suspicions that something was wrong a confidential and top secret internal audit on Irish Red Cross branch accounts was launched and through a variety of mechanisms it was discovered that there was an undeclared bank account in Tipperary with a Red Cross name containing over €150,000 in it. As soon as a certain individual discovered that the bank account had become known to head office in Dublin the money was suddenly acknowledged and transferred. In this instance Irish Red Cross corporate governance spectacularly failed and the matter was swept under the carpet. Most Board members only became aware of it when it was first reported in the Village magazine in late 2009. According to sources we have spoken to every effort has been made to bury this issue. The Sunday Times reports that Mr. Lawlor issued a statement referring to the fact that a bank account not declared to head office by him and that money donated by the general public for one of the world’s largest ever humanitarian disasters which was kept undeclared for nearly four years was the result of an ‘administrative error’ is quite frankly like watching re runs of Father Ted. Mr Lawlor is one of the most senior and longest serving members of the Irish Red Cross. This Blog also understands that there was staff fury at the time of the discovery and it was assumed resignations would immediately follow. This did not happen, much to people’s dismay. There were rumours for much of last year that the GardaĆ­ would be asked to investigate but as far as the Blog knows this has yet to happen.

In the Sunday Times article Ms. Bulbulia further stated ‘Tony Killeen, Minister for Defence, should intervene. “I cannot understand why the Minister will not act by putting in a strong chair person with a track record of getting things sorted out once and for all’. Bulbulia said her decision to resign was hastened by the society’s unwillingness to carry out an investigation into the emergence of the €150,000. ‘One of the major concerns was a lack of financial transparency’she said. ‘The uncovering of an undeclared bank account holding €150,000 that I was told was collected at the time of the tsunami was a great shock. The money was only sent forward when discovered by way of an internal audit. This is unacceptable. That Tony Lawlor is now in the position of acting Chairperson is, to my mind, concerning’. Bulbulia also criticised the charity’s decision to launch a High Court action against Google and the internet service provider UPC in an attempt to silence a blog calling for reform of the IRC.

The Sunday Business Post article of 25th July and written by the paper’s Political Editor, Pat Leahy, focuses on the Irish Red Cross High Court case against Google over this Blog. In the article the paper states ‘However, one senior figure at the charity, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed unease at the legal action. The source said that Google was one of the largest donors to the International Red Cross, which was confirmed by the organisation’s spokesman’.
The fact that the ruling elite of the Irish Red Cross and their hired help would sue one of their biggest donors sums up the mind set and calibre of the Irish Red Cross leadership. Quite honestly the mind boggles.

Jenny Bulbulia served on the Board of the Irish Red Cross for a number of years and was seen by many to represent the future of the Irish Red Cross. Intelligent, articulate, honest and passionately committed to the ideals of the Irish Red Cross and the Red Cross globally her resignation was a huge loss. During her time with the Irish Red Cross she sought governance reform and the creation of a modern dynamic organisation. This was not always welcome. Her departure, along with Judge Rory Mac Cabe (former Board member) who resigned in December 2009, David Andrews, Former Chairman, who resigned in December 2009 and two Secretary Generals, Carmel Dunne who left in 2007 and John Roycroft who left in December 2009, has left the organisation in free fall. The current Chairperson (and Vice Chairperson), Tony Lawlor is in the position in an acting capacity. The current Secretary General, Declan O’Sullivan, is in the position in an acting and temporary capacity. The Government needs to appoint the permanent chairperson to replace David Andrews. We have waited for seven months now and this person, once appointed, needs to oversee the recruitment of a long term Secretary General with the requisite experience, character, integrity and competence for such a senior position. All other matters, including the undeclared €150,000, need to be investigated independently in an open, transparent and accountable manner.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Irish Red Cross folly in suing Google over blog critic

Dear Readers,

Please find below article taken from our back up Blog site http://reformneededatirishredcross.blogspot.com (please check it out, we hope you like it!!)

As all our readers will know the Irish Red Cross has decided to wantonly squander money in attempting to sue Google and force it to close our original Blog site:


The decision taken by the ruling elite and hired help of the Irish Red Cross to sue Google is a warped and pathetic attempt to satisfy their badly bruised egos using the resources of the Irish Red Cross to do so. There is no doubt if the Irish public and taxpayers found out that their kind and generous donations to the Irish Red Cross were being disgracefully wasted on a nonsensical legal action that cannot be won, which Google will fight with all the resources it can muster and, as we are proving with this back up Blog, cannot be successful, they would be furious. More importantly though they would feel betrayed.

The leadership of the Irish Red Cross has made a serious tactical and financial mistake, one that will ultimately be very damaging to the organisation. The Sunday Times (11th July 2010) has already reported on the case and media interest is guaranteed to intensify around the 26th July when the case will be first heard in the High Court. The Irish public will therefore be informed by the media all about the case, the Blog and unfortunately the sad and squalid situation prevailing within the Irish Red Cross. In the short term this will be very damaging to the Irish Red Cross but as we wrote in a previous article on our original Blog site it may very well be the trigger to 'blow the lid' on the Irish Red Cross and force an independent investigation, something this Blog and many commentators, staff, ex staff, Board members, the media and politicians of all persuasions have been calling for twenty years.

The Blog authors do not believe that we will need to switch to this back up Blog address as we are certain the Irish Red Cross will lose its motion on July 26th in the High Court. In the unlikely event the original Blog site is shut down we will use this one. Readers should also be aware that we have already established three other Blog sites but we will only reveal the addresses if required. All previous articles have been saved in soft copy and will be posted on these blog sites if need be.

This Blog calls on the Acting Chairman of the Irish Red Cross, Tony (Anthony) Lawlor, to immediately instruct the Acting Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross, Declan O'Sullivan, to withdraw his affidavit and desist from this folly.

One distressed member summed up the situation ' We all knew by the end of 2009 there were problems with the sudden and unexpected resignations of both the Chairman, David Andrews and the Secretary General, John Roycroft, two very honourable men. What we could not have predicted was the dramatic deterioration that has occurred over the last seven months. Everyone knows the reason for this so we hope and pray something will be done about it sooner rather than later. It seems to us that the organisation is spiraling out of control'

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Irish Red Cross to take legal action against Google in attempt to shut down Blog

Thanks to a comment posted on this Blog during the week the authors were alerted to the fact that the Irish Red Cross has issued legal proceedings in the High Court against Google Ireland in an attempt to have this Blog site shut down. Our subsequent research discovered that the Sunday Times on 11th July 2010 carried an article under the headline Irish Red Cross bid to pull plug on web critic in which it stated ‘The Irish Red Cross has launched a legal action in a bid to silence a blog that calls for reform of the charity and accuses it of having low standards of corporate governance.’ It went on to further state ‘Declan O’Sullivan, the charity’s acting general secretary, has filed an affidavit in the case, which is listed for mention on July 27th.....Last month the blog alleged there was ‘a major crisis at the head office’ of the charity, allegedly because trust between O’Sullivan and staff had broken down’. It is a matter of some interest to us all how the Sunday Times became aware of this in advance of most members and staff and it is clear from the article that someone from the ruling elite and/or hired help spoke to the Sunday Times journalist, Mark Tighe.

Throughout the last seven months the Blog has commented on the ability and competence of the Irish Red Cross leadership but even we are shocked by the utter foolhardiness of the legal action against Google. Our esteemed leaders have now decided to publicise to the broader Irish public all the organisation’s internal problems by taking a high court action which will no doubt be monitored and reported on widely by the media. The Sunday Times article published this Blog’s address thereby bringing the Blog to a vastly wider audience. The purpose of the Blog is to allow staff and members debate, discuss and most importantly be informed about what is happening internally. The ruling elite and its hired help have always tried to prevent such openness and transparency, hence the need for the Blog. The Blog has been very successful in this, its primary objective. Actual reform of the organisation and a new generation of leaders have yet to be achieved but with time this will happen. Clearly the Blog has not negatively impacted the Irish Red Cross with the Irish public and this has never been and never will be its intention. This fact is borne out by the very successful Floods and Haiti appeals where over €4.5 million was raised from the public and corporate sector between the two (Haiti total is three million Euros-see www.redcross.ie). Taking a costly and ill advised legal action against Google will, however, throw the Irish Red Cross’ squalid internal problems wide open and into the public domain. Very few people actually read the Blog or have any real interest in it. Those that do are Irish Red Cross members and staff. That is now all about to change. The legal action will inevitably result in very bad publicity for the Irish Red Cross which will lead to lasting and real damage. The Blog's readership and scope will also increase dramatically.

If there is to be any consolation to the likely damage caused by this court case it may be that such intense media interest, which will surely surround the case, will force the ruling elite to deal publicly and with the media on all the issues raised by the Blog. Of particular interest to the wider media and public will not be the Blog itself or its existence but rather the issues the Blog raises such as secret and undeclared bank accounts, public money for disasters sitting for years in provincial bank accounts, failure to investigate such matters, the refusal of those responsbile to resign, the hundreds of thousands of Euros spent unnecessarily on consultants, misgovernance, the appalling industrial relations environment, staff bullying and harassment etc etc. Should the media following the Irish Red Cross Vs Google court case begin researching the matter they will find an abundance of material in media (newspapers, radio, TV, RTE etc), Dail, Labour Court and High Court records stretching over the last twenty five years. This will only fuel their interest in what is really happening within the Irish Red Cross. Perhaps therefore in the long run the organisation will benefit from taking this High Court case as it may in fact ‘blow the lid’ and force the much needed and continually called for independent investigation. In the short run though the case will bring unnecessary, needless and unwarranted negative attention. Added to this not only will we incur huge legal bills we will incur massive costs paying our media/PR consultant who like our solicitors and barristers will be gleefully rubbing his hands in anticipation.

What can be stated with certainty in this matter is that the court case against Google has little to do with protecting the Irish Red Cross. It is driven by people with very bruised egos who are lashing out at something they have been totally unable to control, this Blog. Certain individuals are using Irish Red Cross solicitors to finance their own personal agenda of vindictiveness and retribution. Although as someone wise once said ‘never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity’.

Irish Red Cross leadership has clearly not thought the matter through and should Google decide to fight the case on grounds of freedom of speech or whatever reason they choose the Irish Red Cross could be consumed in a court case that could in effect break the organisation financially. In addition the ruling elite and the hired help have obviously been very poorly advised by the Irish Red Cross solicitors (who will make a tidy sum from this case themselves) who should understand that even if successful in shutting the current Blog site down it will never go away as nobody can stop people creating Blog sites and writing on any topic they so choose. The Blog authors will always write on the Irish Red Cross and will move from site to site if necessary so dear readers do not fear we will be shut down and cease to exist because thanks to modern social media we can never be ‘shut up’ and preventing us from writing on social media/blog type outlets cannot be achieved. In addition numerous hard copies of every article written are stored in a number of very safe places so that they exist for posterity. Even if the ruling elite and the hired help achieve their holy grail...taking out the Blog authors....others will simply take up the mantle and continue the reform agenda as has happened throughout the last twenty five years.

This Blog would call on the more mature and wise members of the Executive Committee to think long and hard about the possible consequences of this rash and reckless legal action. We would also ask that Executive members have the following questions answered:

1. Where are the funds to finance such a costly legal action coming from? The Blog authors are under the understanding that the organisation is already under financial pressure but perhaps this is not actually the case.
2. One presumes the funds are not coming from the Department of Defence grant, the Kessel Fund, from money donated by the public. Therefore from where?
3. Perhaps another secret bank account has been discovered with lots more money ‘resting’ in it which will be used to pay for this court case?
4. Will the Irish Red Cross sell some of its many properties which it has kept secret and off its audited accounts for twenty five years to finance this case?
5. Has a maximum limit on expenditure for this case been set? If not the costs could end up in the hundreds of thousands within days of a court case proceeding. The guns of Google will be much bigger than the guns of the Irish Red Cross when it comes to available resources.
6. It is clearly not in the wider interest of the Irish Red Cross to take this legal action. Executive Committee members must ask whose interests are really being served here and why are certain people so utterly terrified of the Blog, its questions and the calls for an independent investigation. Please ask the question ‘who has most to lose from the Blog?’ It is certainly not the Irish Red Cross.
7. Newer members to Executive should bear in mind what happened to the Irish Red Cross in the late 1990’s when they went to the High Court in an outrageous attempt to expel a Central Council member, Mr Jim Walsh, who was a known reformist and fearless when it came to dealing with the ruling elite. The case ended up in the Supreme Court and the Court ruled that the Irish Red Cross did not have the power to expel Mr. Walsh and so they lost the case. The legal bill incurred by the Irish Red Cross was in excess of £100,000 (Irish punts). The ruling elite has a long history of squandering Irish Red Cross money when under threat from reformists. They and the hired help must not be allowed use Irish Red Cross funds ever again for their own personal agendas to retain power at any cost.

This Blog has done no harm to the Irish Red Cross. The High Court case against Google certainly will.

Two thoughts for the day:

The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More questions asked in Dail Eireann about the Irish Red Cross on 7th July 2010

On the 7th July 2010, just days before the Dail summer recess more questions on the Irish Red Cross were asked directly to the Minister of Defence, Tony Killeen. During the debate the ongoing internal crisis was again referred to as were the issues of reform and the appointment of a Chairperson.

The questions and ensuing debate can be accessed on:

http://debates.oireachtas.ie (click through to 7th July 2010).

The debate commenced with a question to Minister Killeen from Deputy Brian O’Shea, Labour, asking the Minister ‘his plans regarding the reform of the Irish Red Cross, and if he will make a statement on the matter.’ In the course of the debate Minister Tony Killeen commented ‘I agree with Deputy O’Shea that the continuation of controversies surrounding the Red Cross is undesirable. We would like to do anything we can to address them’.

Deputy O’ Shea remarked at one point ‘Has the Minister reached a conclusion on whether an interim chairperson should be appointed? I raise this issue because I have received further negative correspondence regarding the atmosphere within the Red Cross....The bad press continues unabated. A mechanism must be found to bring the matter to a conclusion, such as some form of independent arbitration. While I fully accept that the Red Cross is an autonomous body, the State provides almost €1 million per year towards its running costs. It has done and will continue to do a great deal of good, but the negative reports that are surfacing must end. I take the point that a highly qualified person is required to act as Chair. Any change made in the method of his or her appointment will take time. However, is there not a strong case for appointing an interim chairperson with the skills and experience to deal with the issues arising?...’ In addition Deputy O’Shea also said ‘...As a measure to resolve the issues and given the climate within the organisation, though, there is a strong case for the quick appointment of an interim chairperson with the necessary skills so that body can function to its maximum potential. I do not know what is occurring within it and we all get representations, but something is wrong and must be addressed urgently’.

Deputy O’Shea, as can be seen from the debate transcript, called for some form of independent arbitration. For twenty years there have been calls for an independent investigation into the affairs of the Irish Red Cross. Such calls have come from volunteers, staff, board members, the media, Fine Gael, Labour and numerous cross party politicians during this period. The ruling elite of the Irish Red Cross are and remain terrified of any independent investigation as they know full well the outcome of any such process. For twenty years much of their effort has been spent on silencing their critics and retaining their power base. For twenty years they have failed to silence their critics. While they may have successfully removed individuals and continue to try to do so the baton of reform always gets passed on from volunteer to volunteer, from staff to staff and from board member to board member. While the personalities leading the reform charge may change over the years the call for reform will never be silenced and the baton will never be dropped. In more than twenty years it never has.

This Blog takes the overall view that Minister Killeen has a genuine interest in assisting the Irish Red Cross address its decades old problems. It does, however, question the priority to which he attaches to it. This is borne out in the delay to appoint a well qualified, committed and experienced chairperson, a delay that has only exacerbated tensions and problems at the organisation. No experienced chairperson would condone or permit what is currently happening within the Irish Red Cross.

On many occasions this Blog has pointed out that the so called ‘Governance Reform Proposals’ put forward to the Minister by the self chosen Working Group are designed purely and solely to enable the ruling elite retain power. The ruling elite drafted them and approved them. As one witty member remarked at the time the proposals were first presented ‘turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, enough said’. The proposals as currently drafted will do nothing to reform the organisation but will in effect consign the Irish Red Cross to another decade of turmoil and under performance.

Minister Killeen’s job is simple. There are two vacant places on the Central Council of the organisation and Minister Killeen is obliged under law to fill these vacant posts. Central Council member and a highly valued member of both Council and the Executive Committee, Judge Rory Mac Cabe, stepped down last December. Judge Mac Cabe was a government appointee and Minister Killeen should appoint his replacement without delay. Similarly David Andrews, former Foreign Affairs Minister, also stepped down last December. His absence is sorely missed as the organisation drifts aimlessly and very dangerously. Minister Killeen is obligated under law to appoint a replacement for Mr. Andrews. There is no complexity here, no legal complications to consider. People stepped down, replacements need to be appointed. The existing legislation applies. If legislation changes in the future then that legislation will apply but until such time current law is applicable.

Minister Killeen, this Blog appreciates that the Irish Red Cross is an irritating headache for you and your officials. It has been this way for over twenty years. Any review of newspaper, radio and TV archives, parliamentary questions, the Labour Court, staff and trade union files, staff payouts/redundancies and the High Court will bear out the fact that the Irish Red Cross is a very troubled, discontented, dysfunctional and under performing organisation. Poor governance, mismanagement, secret and undeclared bank accounts, scandalous waste of resources on consultancy fees, huge legal bills, harassment, intimidation, obsession with power and empire building all must become a thing of the past. The transformation needed cannot begin without a dynamic, qualified and energetic Chairperson that has the respect, trust and confidence of all. We would ask that you please appoint such a person.

On a separate matter:

The Blog authors have followed with interest the flurry of activity on the comments section of the last few articles. It is very encouraging to see the standard of comment increase significantly from some of the previous..how shall we put it...less intellectually robust ones. The discussion on the comments section is great to see and while the Blog authors do not necessarily agree with all that has been said the Blog site’s purpose is to encourage sensible debate, discussion and free expression.

For the record it is important to state that the Blog authors decided from the very beginning not to post any comments in the comments section and this we have never done. When we wish to comment on comments we have always done so and will continue to do so in our ‘On a separate matter’ section in articles. So no comment in the comments section can be attributed to the Blog authors.

One of the more recent comments posted informs the Blog authors that the Irish Red Cross came third in the FACE competitions held in Serbia recently. We have also read the article on the Irish Red Cross web. This is a great achievement so congratulations to all those involved. The Irish Red Cross has a fantastic record in FACE competitions and this is testament to the highest professional standards attained by Irish Red Cross volunteers throughout the country. It is the volunteers of the Irish Red Cross and its hard working staff that ensure the organisation stays afloat and has so much to be proud of. It is the governance and leadership that has consistently failed us. Congratulations again to the team from Louth for doing the Irish Red Cross proud in Europe.

The Blog authors were pleasantly surprised to see an injection of poetry into the comments section and note with interest the poems that have been chosen. We take heart from both of them as each has an important message. The poem Ozymandias by Shelly is particularly interesting. The central theme of Ozymandias is the inevitable decline of all leaders and of the empires they build however mighty they are in their own time. The twenty year dynasty that has ruled and misgoverned the Irish Red Cross will one day no longer be in power. Its decline is already well under way and its power base has been much weakened and discredited in recent years but still it dominates. Like a caged animal it fights ruthlessly for its survival but that is to be expected. In such matters patience and unwavering determination are key as the end will always come. Of course reformists must be strategic and tactical in their actions as the sting of a dying wasp is always the most painful. The secondary message of Ozymandias and one often forgotten is the condemnation of tyranny. As with the central theme of the poem this secondary message is also applicable to the Irish Red Cross, particularly in the context of the current practice of intimidating, harassing and bullying staff and anyone who speaks out. The Blog authors remain confident that with time and the eventual appointment and recruitment of a competent leadership the current ruling elite and their hired help, will like Ozymandias, crumble and disappear into oblivion.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Minister Kileen, why the delay in appointing the Irish Red Cross Chairperson?

Dear Minister Kileen,

It is now July and still you have not appointed a Chairperson to the Board of the Irish Red Cross. It is nearly seven months since the former Chairman, Mr. David Andrews, announced his intention to step down at the end of 2009. There can be no excuse for this long delay. We would implore you to address this matter before the Dail breaks for the summer recess. You are fully aware of the deep rooted internal problems that beset the Irish Red Cross. You are also aware that the problems are severely exacerbated by the leadership deficit that has existed within the Irish Red Cross at a number of levels since the end of 2009.

It is the responsibility of the Irish Government and specifically the Department of Defence to appoint a well qualified, energetic, experienced and credible person to the position of Chair of the Irish Red Cross. Your Department has been remiss in its obligations and the delays have just added to the ever increasing woes of the organisation. All the hard working members, volunteers and staff of the Irish Red Cross deserve to have a Chairperson in place, one that we can all be proud of. Surely seven months is a sufficient time frame to identify the right person. Minister Kileen, please give this matter the attention and priority it deserves.