Monday, October 11, 2010

Irish Red Cross cancels independent investigation into undeclared Tipperary bank account, according to Sunday Independent

Daniel Mc Connell, Chief Reporter, Sunday Independent, has reported in the 10th October 2010 edition of one of Ireland's biggest selling news papers, that the Irish Red Cross has unilaterally decided to cancel the independent investigation in to the undeclared Tipperary branch bank account that contained €162,000 of money intended for victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami. The money and the bank account remained undeclared until it was discovered during a secret internal audit in late 2008. Barely a month ago the Irish Red Cross announced to the media that it had decided to hire an independent firm of accountants to investigate the matter. 'Cost reasons' have been cited as the excuse for the cancellation.

McConnell's article leads with the headline 'KILLEEN REFUSES TO INTERVENE IN RED CROSS ROW'. This is followed by a sub-headline 'Fine Gael, main opposition party, hits out at charity's decision to pull plug on independent probe into tsunami donations'.

Tony Killeen is the Minister for Defence in the Irish government. The Minister's spokeswoman stated "The Minister has no role in the day to day activities or internal decisions of the society or its executive council". This is interesting. Here are the facts: The Ministry of Defence has statutory responsibility for the Irish Red Cross and appoints 17 members of the Irish Red Cross Central Council. The Minister of Defence appoints the Irish Red Cross Chairman. A senior civil servant from the Department of Defence sits on the Executive Committee of the organisation. The Executive Committee oversees and makes all day to day decisions of the Irish Red Cross. The government's recruiting agency, the Public Appointments Service, is handling the recruitment of a permanent Irish Red Cross Secretary General. Its hard to tally these facts with the Minister's position.

In early September 2010 the Irish Red Cross informed us all they were appointing an independent firm of accountants to investigate the undeclared Tipperary bank account, which the organisation's Vice Chairman, Tony Lawlor, was a signatory on-saying it has "nothing to hide". The Sunday Independent, on 5th September 2010, stated 'The move by the IRC to appoint independent accountants comes despite it knowing about the "administrative error" for over two years, and has occurred only since it has been the subject of intense media scrutiny'.

In early October 2010 the Irish Red Cross issued another official statement saying "The Irish Red Cross wishes to confirm that it has put an internal committee in place of an accountancy firm, to carry out the review in question. This decision has been made in order to avoid unnecessary expenditure".

The move to cancel the independent investigation by Irish Red Cross has been heavily criticised by Fine Gael TD (MP), Jimmy Deenihan, who said an 'an internal investigation simply "wont be credible". "The Red Cross needs investigating from top to bottom by an independent person who is beyond reproach. This will not now happen and this internal investigation into the Tipperary account is simply not credible, given the damage that has been done to the emblem of the IRC in recent times," Mr. Deenihan said.

The Sunday Independent report went on to say 'Despite the IRC receiving almost €1m from the taxpayer every year, Mr. Killeen, Minister for Defence, said yesterday he would not interfere in this issue'. The article commented 'that Killeen is likely to come under fire over his refusal to intervene'. One can only assume that at the very least there will be a series of Parliamentary Questions and debate in the Irish parliament over this extremely serious and potentially damaging decision.

It is not clear who exactly took the final decision to cancel the independent investigation but regardless those at the top must be held accountable for their actions and all members of both the Executive Committee and the Central Council must be held collectively responsible for what has happened and what is happening at the Irish Red Cross.

A number of people have asked of this blog in recent times 'where is all this going?'. This has been on the blog author's mind alot who came across the following from an unknown author and felt it was helpful 'I havent a clue as to how this story will end. But thats alright. When you set out on a journey and night covers the road, you don't conclude the road has vanished. And without the dark how else could we discover the stars?'.

Full article available on http://ireland.world-countries.net/archives/62230

Ends

The fact of the Watergate cover up is not nearly as interesting as the steps into making the cover up. And when you understand the steps, you understand that Richard Nixon lied. That he was a criminal-Bob Woodward

On a Separate Matter:

Some interesting comments on http://www.boards.ie/ (search for Irish Red Cross Vs Blogger thread) or click on

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056016355&highlight=Irish+Cross

28 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:51 AM

    Chronology of events. You decide if they are linked.

    1. Sunday Times, July, reports on its front page details of the undeclared Tipperary bank account with Irish Red Cross Vice Chairman, Tony Lawlor, as a signatory on the account. The account has €162,000 sitting in it when it should have been spent three years before on victims of the Asian Tsunami. Irish Red Cross tells Tipperary Nationalist newspaper the figure is €150,000 then is forced to admit it is €162,000 following leaks to the media. Irish Red Cross tells Tipp Nationalist the money has been spent. Sunday Times reports the money has not been spent according to internal sources.

    2. Tony Lawlor goes on extended leave and disappears during the summer months.

    3. Under ceaseless pressure from the Irish media and politicians Irish Red Cross announces plans to hire an independent accounting firm to investigate the undeclared Tipperary bank account and those involved with it.

    4. Tony Lawlor returns from his extended break.

    5. Tony Lawlor meets with new Irish Red Cross Chairman, David O'Callaghan and Minister for Defence, Tony Killeen, in Clare. Its all very hush hush but news leaks out anyway.

    6. Irish Red Cross announces it has canceled the independent investigation into the undeclared Tipperary bank account and that it will investigate the matter themselves.

    7. Shame and more shame on the Irish Red Cross as a result of point 6.

    Points 1-6 linked? You decide

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  2. The Irish Red Cross is suing Google International. Google employs hundreds of Irish people in good jobs in Ireland, something we desperately need during this dire recession.

    The Irish Red Cross receives nearly €1.5 million from the Irish government every year. I would like to know if any of this government money is being used to pay Irish Red Cross's legal fees in suing Google and UPC???

    If it is then the Irish government is giving money to the Irish Red Cross which is then being used to finance a legal action against a company that is employing hundreds of Irish workers. Well done Irish government, paying an organisation to sue an international company which employs Irish people. Brilliant, just brilliant!

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  3. In answering the question points 1 - 6 linked
    Lets look at another historical fact.

    October 1989 from correspondence from Veronica Canning Secretary general. "The executive committee have noted your concern re the funds for Armenia however, as you will be aware the emergency situation in Armenia has now moved on to the rehabilitation/development stage and the Executive Committee plans to use the monies in an appropriate manner".

    Doesn't sound bad until you ask when was the earthquake December 1988 and how long did they keep all the money for? well lets just say it did not go to Geneva until some years later after 1989.

    I have the exact dates, but that will suffice util there is a full inquiry. However the only reason the money moved was a reporter from the irish Times started to ask questions and so did I.
    I wonder did this journalist get what I got?

    A threat of legal action from a member of the Executive of the Red Cross. this same member it appears has been a regular visitor to solicitors and has sought to use threats on more than one occasion against many members who would dare to question the might of the Executive Committee.

    Name and shame them !

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  4. Anonymous9:22 AM

    Where have all the Red Cross members gone? The Society would have you believe that they have thousands (I did say have you believe). We do know one thing and that is they have 42 members in the Central Council and 15 of them are elected politically.

    So this blog has had a response from one member of the Council out of 42. This proves only one thing and that is they are as lethargic as I believe they are.

    Why are they not outspoken what is they fear? Who are they running from ? The fact they they appear to have no say or cannot act answers so many questions. The Cork area has spoken what is happening in all the other areas or are they blind and deaf to the reality that the Red Cross is in trouble.

    Thanks be to God we do not rely on these people to be there for us in a real conflict situation. They would be all in a hole at the sound of the first shot !

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  5. Anonymous10:39 AM

    New Secretary General wanted!

    Main purpose of the job:

    Consolidate the recent growth in IRC’s activities and ensure that the principal interventions of emergency and humanitarian relief at home and abroad, as well as advocacy and fund raising, are of continuing high quality, adequately funded and their impact widely disseminated.....

    This actually on the job description I was nearly sick with laughter ! I think it was the widely disseminated line that tipped the scale for me...

    So the Secretary General is now a public service job... interesting ! has the Minister taken control?

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  6. Anonymous9:22 AM

    In answer to the post relating to what is happening in other areas look at the west.

    2 units spoke out againist the inner sanctum who ran the area all belonging to one unit all officers all on the banch and area committees (very equally run as you can see) and they did not like the fact that their ways were been questioned so they are spliting the entire area.

    Galway county consisting of 2 Units and the only other unit left is Galway City so it is easy to see who runs what. Unfortunately this is not the first time Galway City have lead a solit in the county our colleagues on the west side had to merge with connemeara just a few years ago.

    So what is the point in speaking out they will split things up, hid things away and ammend everything to suit the inner sanctum.

    And this is a humanitarian society

    WHAT A LAUGH

    Good luck on your efforts Cork.

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  7. Anonymous10:13 PM

    I see that one of the writers of Father Ted has tweeted about the difficulties in the Irish Red Cross- maybe he's upset about his "the money was just resting in my account" phrase being bandied about- more legal woes for the IRCS?!

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  8. I have to say that whilst we might complain about the organisation and its management they have to be commended for one thing and that is consistency.

    Over the last two decades I have received letters from several Secretary Generals and the one thing they all have in common and that is the use of the general phrase “ your comments or points have been noted” the current Secretary general has taken up the gauntlet of his predecessors and followed suit in his response to myself yesterday.

    Whilst I know this may taint our relationship, at the risk of actually getting a response which might suggest action I am willing to take the risk.

    Anyone else get the same pre formatted letter/ email ?

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  9. Anonymous12:38 PM

    A comment sometime ago suggested that the Red Cross had been infiltrated or worse by a masonic order. Well, I have put much thought into this and have come to the conclusion that there may be some truth in that suggestion.

    If one looks at the make up of the Irish Red Cross and its membership no one actually knows who is in the Society. Whilst you might casually discover who people through contact at events or through longevity in the organisation there is actually no other way to discover who is involved.

    Worse again is the management of the Society, here we have the ultimate of secrecy. The Council members don't know the identities of the council other than arriving and seeing 41 other people in a room. Who they are and where they are from is anyone's guess. Then there is the membership who only know their own representative and that is only if their area shares that information and some it seems don't.

    The Irish Red Cross website or any available information does not identify who the board members are unlike most other NGO's.... am I building a picture of a masonic order or is it that no ones wants to be identified as being involved with the Society. Make your own mind up, but I have found that its real easy to find out who is on the board of other NGO"s. Maybe this question might be answered by the council member who contributes to this blog !

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  10. Anonymous11:28 PM

    Did I hear on the news that Google profits are up by 2 billion or is it million? either way will it be enough to satisfy the blood hounds of the Red Cross in taking action against Google and UPC to prevent Irish Red Cross members speaking out ! What is hidden that the management do not want the public to knnow. I have a message for them even if you beat Google you will never win over the hearts and minds of the righteous!

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  11. Anonymous1:35 AM

    In answer to the last post: Try this simple exercise and you will see you are right!

    Email any member of staff in HQ requesting a list of members on any of the committees and you will see the response you get.

    You will not be suprised though

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  12. Anonymous5:04 AM

    What ever about government reps being appointed to the Executive, let us all stand and vote in new people and sign a no confidence motion in the current ones. Have a complete clear out. The time is approaching to send in nominations so think on guys and gals don't vote for what is already there, get rid and put some honest people in place. Well done Cork on your efforts, may all other areas not controlled by the inner sanctum follow your lead. GET THEM OUT AND GET THEM OUT NOW!

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  13. Anonymous5:08 AM

    I don't have to email Merrion Square as they really don't know who is a member and who is not..... ! They can tell you who is a trouble maker though and they know who they are as they are never communicated with ! Its a simple process of get a General Secretary and initiate or should I say indoctrinate him/her into the benefits to their health of making sure that the chosen remain chosen !

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  14. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Has anybody heard the rumour that Noel Wardick intends to turn up in Galway for the first aid competitions and to confront Lawlor and O'Sullivan? What a riot that would be, ha ha!!

    Myself I dont think its true as even though i dont know Noel it strikes me that he has too much dignity and intelligence for such a stunt. Even if he did show up you can be sure the same excuses as given to Prime Time would be given to Noel. Lawlor would be 'unavailable due to being on extended leave' and O'Sullivan would be unavailable 'because he is on holidays'!!!!! The they would be spotted hanging out together in Galway!! I dont suppose they will ever be allowed live down their RTE Prime Time howler, and so they shouldnt. Whatever happened to the Irish Red Cross spokesperson, forget her name, who appeared on Prime Time instead of the other two? Is she no longer the Society's spokeswoman after that night??

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  15. Anonymous8:27 AM

    Well done Paul Gogarty, Green Party TD. I see from a comment on boards.ie that he has put down parliamentary questions to the Minister of Defence about the Irish Red Cross. This is very good and good to see a TD from a Government party get involved in this horrible mess. I hope he commits to staying involved and force the Irish Red Cross fiasco onto the Cabinet table agenda. The comment on boards.ie raises another good point. What about the Green Party government nominees on the Irish Red Cross Central Council? Now one of their TDs is speaking out maybe they will end their silence and do something for a change.

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  16. Anonymous8:48 AM

    Here is some questions the youth and members should think about asking Tony Lawlor and Ted Noonan (Irish Red Cross Treasurer) over the coming days in Galway:

    A. On 3rd September Mr. Noonan wrote us all a detailed memo giving us the usual blah blah spin from Merrion Square. In the memo he wrote that Irish Red Cross would be hiring an independent accounting firm to investigate the undeclared irish Red Cross Tipp bank account that had 162,000 euros sitting in it that was in the name of Tony Lawlor. Mr. Noonan was Acting Chairman at this time which is why he signed the letter. Three weeks later Irish Red Cross canceled the independent investigation and now they tell us they will investigate the Tipp bank account themselves. Is this a sick joke? We're not fools even though you must think we are. Mr. Noonan, as a member I expect a memo from you explaining your u-turn and want to know who made this decision. As a previous comment said strange the decision to cancel the investigation came after a certain you-know-who returned from his leave! Mr. Noonan, we need an answer from you as it was you who told us all about the independent investigation so you need to explain why there will be none. Dont bother insulting our intelligence with stupid excuses about saving on costs. You're still suing Google, paying tens of thousands in legal bills for this case and wardick's case. You have a media consultant, human resource consultant, an IT consultant, the first two making thousands of euros in 2010 because of the chaos and staffing problems.

    B. Why did the Irish Red Cross pay nearly HALF A MILLION EURO to one individual since 2008. Yes nearly HALF A MILLION EURO to one individual. Why is this?????? We are a charity not Goldman Sachs!! The exact figure according to the newspapers is €480,000 and this doesnt include expenses or pensions as far as newspaper reports say. Mr. Noonan, you are the Treasurer so did you approve nearly HALF A MILLION EUROS for one person? If you didnt approve it who approved it and Mr. Noonan why didnt you stop it? The money was for services rendered!! What services??? Irish Red Cross has fallen apart and our image destroyed because of what certain people have done, and I dont mean wardick. We all know who they are.

    I pray the Youth revolt in Galway and ask you people the really hard questions and demand you are replaced. Our future is in their hands not yours.

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  17. Anonymous10:38 AM

    One of the last comments said " I pray the youth revolt in Galway! Well, that is exactly what we hope is going to happen. The bods who have destroyed the Irish Red Cross will be buzzing around hands out looking for members to kiss their ring, whilst passing on their glorious message lets us pray for Noel Wardick he is a man lost in a conflict of his own making. They will no doubt have lots of ready made shirts spun with excuses by the ultimate spin Doctors helped by Mr David Curtin the PR consultant responsible for the media rsponses on behalf of the Society. By the way Mr Noonan did not correspond with all the members as this is one that he did not contact. I did see his response and it was pityfully inaccurate and grossly biased. So the elder lemons who are as they will say the backbone of the Red Cross will gather in Galway and confirm with each other that their position of self importance is secure and this man Wardick will be taken care of by our Leader Tony Lawlor and demi Leader Ted Noonan. Then again if the Youth revolt.....??!

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  18. Anonymous1:11 PM

    When a humanitarian society such as the Red Cross comes under attack as it has done over the last three months one would immediately expect that it would deny the allegations and prove to its donors that the allegations are false and unworthy.

    However, this is not the case the management of the Irish Red Cross have engaged with no one, they have hidden their heads, changed vice chairman as a stunt and continued with the legal challenges. Appointed individuals to find Noel Wardick guilty! not of running a Blog but of questioning their authority to do wrong!

    They have ignored correspondences from members and lied to both the Government and the members. eg appointment of accountants to investigate Noel Wardick’s claims. They have continued on a path which spans back several decades.

    They are so removed from reality they have no comprehension of the harm they are doing to the International Red Cross movement nor as I suspect do they care !

    They remain anonymous and this too must end. I have asked for their contact details to no avail. This is the level the management will go to protect a board which now is redundant!

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  19. Anonymous7:49 AM

    I was in Galway, what a great weekend. The true meaning of volunteerism stayed above the nasty and spiteful tone of this blog. The weekend was one of solidarity and friendship and the Irish Red Cross Youth got what they deserve, a fun and enjoyable weekend. Not a sign of begrudgery for the entire weekend. The emblem of this wonderful organisation will always rise above nasty jibes. My advice is give up this silly back stabbing and start doing something pro active to raise the profile of the Irish Red Cross, and allow the hard working volunteers (young and old) get on with doing the work they enjoy doing. In my opinion this blog is doing the society and us volunteers more damage than anything else. If you care as much about the organisation as you say you do, you will stop dragging us through the gutter.

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  20. Anonymous9:36 AM

    The Central Council members are the people responsible for all the trouble in the Irish Red Cross, whilst they will try not to accept the responsibility they had better get used to taking the blame. They are the ones that delegated the responsibility to the Executive and it is they who can remove it.

    Unfortunately there are no heroes on the Central Council, not a single one they will just sit and wait for life to happen and probably pray that there are no implications for their non action.

    The Executive are doing the usual no communication with Council members and the media wheel has stopped, all hatches are closed and they are ready for winter...!

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  21. Anonymous12:44 AM

    I wasn’t in Galway and was not ware as a member there was an event in Galway at the weekend (was I supposed to?) then again I don't do First Aid. I'm glad there was an atmosphere of solidarity, there should be. Maybe your missing something! you read the Blog yet your like a horse in a team (no offence to be taken) your the lead horse which like all the rest is blinkered so other than the sound of hooves behind you or beside you as far as you know you’re the only horse in the team. That doesn’t mean the other horses don’t exist, But you only see them when they are not following you and the only view they get is your tail end and all the functions of that orifice.

    I have no doubt that the units are doing a good job, but what about inclusiveness are the units an open house for all in our communities minority groups eg asylum seekers, travellers does it promote those who are drug abusers to participate so that they may gain a life outside their addiction. Maybe you should ask who is not there and that will give you an answer as to how inclusive the Red Cross is. How many homeless are unit leaders or indeed are involved in units, take the blinkers off and when your finished patting yourself on the back for your solidarity look at how exclusive you are !

    This Blog is about intimidation bullying, abuse of POWER, failing to apply the Principles and misuse of donor money if you are unable to read what this Blog is saying you are the blind blinkered horse. As for being nasty and spiteful I doubt you have ever worked in Merrion Square or received letters threatening legal action or sacked for speaking up as many staff did only to loose their job. This about the elephant in the room. .

    By the way who said anything about stopping anyone doing what they enjoy. But as a member of the Red Cross you have a commitment, which you are probably unaware of. To promote all the functions and Principles of the Society even the ones you don’t like.

    The Principles say it all and if you don’t know them, well perhaps that answers the Blog !

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  22. Anonymous1:02 AM

    Comment to dragging us through the gutter.

    A gutter of your own making! May I suggest you tell the victims whom the money sitting in a Tipperary bank account was meant for that you are worried about your image ! Me thinks image is the last thing they are worried about. Get of your self pity stool!

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  23. Anonymous2:11 AM

    To the member above who talks about the great weekend in Galway. It was very important that the youth had a successful and enjoyable weekend and thanks to the staff from Merrion square and volunteers the weekend was a success and the youth enjoyed themselves. However please take your head out of the sand. This blog is the best thing that has happened to the Irish Red Cross because it has exposed what is going on and it has given a voice to many volunteers and members around the country. The leadership of the Irish Red Cross is totally opposed to this blog and Noel Wardick because they are terrified of both. They are scared of Wardick and scared of his fearless approach. Their normal tactics of intimidation have failed on him as he fights back and they are scared to death as they dont know what to do when that happens. This blog has exposed the truth so take your head out of the sand and demand those responsible for this horrible situation resign. At least the process of change has started with the advertisement for a Secretary General. When that is finalised it will make a very big difference as 2010 has been one of the worst years in Irish Red Cross history but the replacement of the 'leaders' must not stop at the Secretary General.

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  24. Anonymous2:17 AM

    To the poster that was in Galway at the weekend and had such a wonderful experience. Are you for real?

    You are clearly in the camp that it is best to sweep it all under the carpet and hid it than get it out there and get it sorted. How can an embelm fly proud when it is associated with hidden bank accounts where monies that should have went on humanitarian aid was "resting" and all the other hidden secrets that are coming out.

    Our youth members will have nothing to take over if we do not out the wrong and try to rebuild this organisation. It is not our embelm we are all ashamed of it is those who have destroyed it.

    So get real and either get busy helping to restore and rebuild this organisation or go back to the world of NOD where things are so rosey!


    Did everyone hear they are now placing trophies up in the name of Executive members for their service to the Society????????????????

    For those of us in the real world I am sure you will agree this is a joke? Right???

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  25. Anonymous2:56 PM

    I believe that there is now going to be a policy of nameing rewards after members of the current and past of the Executive Comittee what boat did these guys get off, are they really so full of their own importance that they now are going to name perpectual trophies after themselves....

    I have heard it all ! Actually maybe not.

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  26. Anonymous12:34 AM

    The membership have spoken to each other and have decided amongst themselves that it is best given the fact that the Society has been found wanting to forget the whole thing and start a new, with the same Management.
    The management have persuaded them that it is the best thing they can do as all this talk about intimidation, bank accounts and use of money etc is really just a big misunderstanding. All they were trying to do is stream peoples talents towards other organisations were they think they might be better suited. So Noel all these threats are actually being done in your best interest.

    I'm sure you feel allot better now ! Of course the current audit being carried out is the smokescreen that is being used to suggest that there is reform in the air. Remember the audit is about looking at branch accounts not records within the bowels of Merrion Square. Now is you really want to do an audit take a look at how much was paid out in expenses over the last two decades.

    Were was all the money spent and on whom ! Now there is an audit waiting to happen !

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  27. I still have not received a formal response to correspondence sent to the Irish Red Cross. The weeks are passing and all is silent in the camp. I guess Noel is still an employee. This is all going to make for one really interesting book on how to run a Humanitarian Organisation and not follow the rules. Could it be called "A Dummies Guide to Red Cross".

    Whilst there are many who would just like Mr Wardick to go away, the truth has a habit like stones in a garden of rising to the top now and again ! It would appear that this is the time for the Irish Red Cross to stop burying the stones.

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  28. Anonymous6:00 AM

    Hmm. So in the month between Irish Red Cross announcing their plans to engage an independent accounting firm and their subsequent decision to abandon those plans, they came to the conclusion that the investigation would constitute ‘unnecessary expenditure’. That’s quite a turnaround. Why did they announce that they would do it? Didn’t they think about the expenditure then? Could it be that even as they were making the announcement they were saying to themselves: “As if!” Could they have been thinking: “we might end up in some serious trouble if there is a real investigation into the undeclared bank account. Let’s announce an independent investigation to get the media off our backs and then wait a few weeks until the heat dies down and then just not do it. What’s going to happen – the Irish public will jump up and down and demand that the investigation takes place? Not likely. The Irish public have far bigger things to jump up and down about right now”. If they can really do that and get away with it, then they can do anything. I wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of the good blogger right now.

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