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

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:35 AM

    + O what a beautiful morning, O what a beauitful day. Blogger you light up my life with such news. I decided you are filling this blogg space with such bull s#@t, I'm going to do the same. Hence the weather report from my part of the country +

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  2. Anonymous2:17 PM

    Would that be Tipperary by any chance?

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  3. Anonymous4:40 PM

    I'm the first commenter, no thankfully i'm not from Tipp

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  4. Anonymous11:53 PM

    This is a great idea commenter, I am not from Tipperary either but it dull over cast and looks like rain in the east :P

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  5. Anonymous11:58 PM

    In 1992 my sister collapsed at a concert only for the irish red cross staff i do not know if she would be alive today. I run the womens mini marathon every year and raise funds for the irish red cross, with crazy expenditure as published here, I will not even consider putting money in a bucket on the street.

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  6. Mark Tighe7:17 AM

    Hi,

    Mark Tighe from The Sunday Times here.

    Would the blog's author be able to contact me on mark.tighe(at) sunday-times.ie ?

    Regards,

    Mark

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  7. Anonymous2:36 AM

    best of luck. It seems to be a slow and painful journey but the truth will come out. I know one of the people here and know he would be difficult to make admit his unsuitability for his role

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  8. Other Red Cross organizations appear to be abused too. The US RC has blogging about it.

    In times of widespread corruption, standards everywhere drop. The Irish RC may be under pressure from non-national sources to stop you. They would only need to follow the legal route if you had taken thorough and sensible precautions about uploading! Keep them alive and look over your choulder!

    Best of Irish!

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