Monday, October 25, 2010

"Dash to save job of Red Cross Mole"

On Sunday 24th October 2010 the Sunday Independent, Ireland's largest selling newspaper published the following article, written by Chief Reporter, Daniel Mc Connell:

Dash to save job of Red Cross mole

Demands for Killeen to 'grab issue by neck' and defend whistleblower


MINISTER for Defence Tony Killeen has been called on to stage an eleventh-hour intervention to prevent the sacking next week of an Irish Red Cross whistleblower, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Noel Wardick, head of International Development at the IRC, was suspended after he revealed himself to be the author of an online blog which continually highlighted issues of poor governance and financial irregularities at the charity.

Officially, the disciplinary process is still ongoing but the Sunday Independent has learnt that it is to be concluded next week, and it is expected that Mr Wardick will be found guilty of "misconduct".

Mr Killeen, who has responsibility for the Irish Red Cross, has repeatedly refused to intervene in the issue, despite the embattled charity receiving almost €1m in funding from the State annually.

Supporters of Mr Wardick, including some members of the IRC's central council, have called on Mr Killeen to "grab the issue" by the neck and prevent the sacking.

"Wardick risked his own career to speak out and raise publicly what has been going wrong in the IRC. Now he faces the sack for his trouble. He needs not only to be protected but thanked for his courage," said one government-appointed council member.

Fine Gael's David Stanton has also called on Mr Killeen to stop sitting on his hands and sort the IRC out once and for all.

"His repeated refusal to get involved is disgraceful. I am very anxious that these issues are severely damaging the reputation of the Irish Red Cross. A total overhaul of the governance structure is needed and he has sat on his hands while all this controversy has rolled on," he said.

Mr Killeen repeated his refusal to get involved in the IRC controversy during questions in the Dail about the charity last week, including a number from his coalition partner Green Party TD Paul Gogarty, who asked him to explain his actions following recent revelations about the IRC.

The Irish Red Cross came in for criticism two weeks ago when we reported that it cancelled an independent review in to how €162,000 of donations lay idle in a Tipperary bank account controlled by then acting IRC chairman Tony Lawlor.

The IRC said that it had decided to end the independent inquiry on "cost grounds" and had replaced it with an internal committee investigation. Despite Mr Wardick's admission that he was the author of the critical blog, the IRC has controversially decided to continue its legal action against Google for facilitating the blog.


  1. Anonymous12:10 AM

    What does the Red Cross say about all this suspicion of corruption and insinuations of wrong doing? Is it saying anything has it unilaterally decided to give the Irish people the finger.

    What other organisation can we remember getting so much bad press without uttering a word in its own defence? Where is the new chairman is is he saying anything?

    Is there anything to be said, probably not! It is my guess there is much more to be read about of the Irish Red Cross Society and the fun bit is that the Red Cross is so incompetent they don’t actually know what is about to be exposed there is so much stuff hanging in the air.

    I do feel sorry however for the Red Cross Society members as they appear to be powerless to stop this management team from destroying the organisation.

  2. Anonymous9:48 AM

    Transparency International welcomed the recent anti-corruption investigations led by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) but criticised the Government’s current approach to whistleblower protection, which only protects employees in selected categories.

    The group said people working across the public, private and non-profit sectors continue to be exposed to dismissal or legal reprisals for reporting concerns in the public interest.

    Transparency also called on the Irish Red Cross to set a good example for other non-profit organisations by commissioning an independent review of claims made by its head of international department, Noel Wardick, about the body.

    Mr Wardick publicly aired his concerns about financial management and governance at the charity via a blog and has been suspended since August of this year.