Thursday, October 21, 2010

Questions raised in Irish Parliament about Irish Red Cross by a member of the coalition government

Regular readers of this Blog will be very familair with the fact that for the last twelve months many politicians in Ireland have asked formal parliamentary questions of the Minister for Defence on matters relating to the Irish Red Cross. Indeed questions in the Irish Parliament about governance, financial and mangement concerns at the Irish Red Cross have been tabled at regular intervals for the last twenty years. This is not a positive reflection on the Irish Red Cross but instead demonstrates the serious worries of generations of Irish policiticans into the running of the country's national Red Cross Society. Coincidentialy the twenty year period of concern, controversy and parliamentary questions has mirrored much of the term in office of certain 'leaders' of the Irish Red Cross. Is this a coincidence then? Its really a matter for the Government, IFRC, ICRC and Irish Red Cross members and staff to decide. It is an interesting correlation of timeframes and events though.

What is highly significant about the recent parliamentary questions tabled on 20th October 2010 by Green Party TD (Irish equivalent of an MP), Deputy Paul Gogarty, is that it is the first time in the last year that a member of the serving coalition government has asked parliamentary questions to his ministerial colleague, Minister of Defence, Tony Killeen. It surely must be a barmoter of the scale, depth and extent of the problems at the Irish Red Cross that a member of a governing party is asking a government ministerial colleague on record in the parliament for clarification and answers.

It was encouraging to see Deputy Gogarty raise the issue of an independent investigation into Irish Red Cross banking matters. The Minister's response was less encouraging though. Should an independent investigation ever go ahead this blog would also suggest that it be extended to include the small matter of the Irish Red Cross property portfolio which, in contravention of good accounting practice, is not disclosed on the books or in the financial accounts of the organisation. Why this is no-one knows and where these properties are and how they are utilised remains unknown to the vast majority of people involved in the Irish Red Cross. Many of these properties were given to the Irish Red Cross by individuals and families as part of their legacies and wills. Why they are not included in the financial accounts and records of the Irish Red Cross has never been adequately explained. It remains a most serious outstanding matter.

It is not clear if Deputy Gogarty has been in contact with his Green Party colleagues who serve as government nominees on the Irish Red Cross Central Council.

Deputy Gogarty's well thought out questions and the Minister's standard answers are available on the link below:


  1. I have stated before that I have been a member of the Red Cross for 34 years I must say that maths was never my forte it is actually 36 and for over 20 years I have tried without success to have members of the Executive brought to book and have them apologise for the treatement that staff and members have endured for doing what the Red Cross is supposed to do and that is uphold the Principles.

    Historically it can be proved beyond doubt that any attempt to grow a facet of the Society which does not include what can be controlled by the inner sanctum, is hurridly severed at the head so that that function is no longer.

    Members and staff who dare to question the Executive or any of its memebrs are vilified and according to recent explanations as to the money in Tipperary one can only but suggest that the excuse department is well and truly working overtime.. Was there not an add on the Radio recently of a guy looking for an excuse surely he should have called the Red Cross they are perfectionists in excuses.

    The Council will meet in Novemeber and one can only assume that there will be few that will have the integrity like Jenny and resign in protest at being treated like mushrooms. The Council are kept in the dark as it is possibly thought by some that it is the best way to keep them in their place.

    I have asked the Secretary general for a list of the Central Council members, but this has not been forthcoming so by virtue of the lack of response I can only assume that there is an inert fear of a member knowing who is on the Council, did someone mention that the Red Cross was like or perhaps worse controlled by a masonic order. (if its smells like a fish it might possibly be a fish).

    I know how Noel Wardick must feel as I've been there, threatened and vilified, but we are stronger than those who would have us believe they have won over our hearts and minds.

    The Red Cross is bigger and much better than those who would take a position of power and abuse it. This Society needs to be independently investigated and that means warts and all I've nothing to hide so why would they fear such and event.

  2. Anonymous12:40 AM

    The Executive Committee of the Irish Red Cross met on Thursday, most likely chaired by the new Chairman. I wonder was it held in the Ashling Hotel or in Merion Square to insure that they are using public money frugally.

    I have no doubt given the seriousness of the alegations which have been raised continuously in this Blog and on Boards,ie the Executive Committee will be making a full public address on the matter. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting.

    Or will they make no statements as I and others expect. We see the Executive of the Irish Red cross as having the utmost of contempt for its donors, seeing themselves as Prima Donnas above the need to answer to us their benefactors (not for long).

    No doubt the Government will be given a full report from their representative in the Dept. of Defence and their representatives who are nominated by Government. Perhaps these reports will be sent to the Minister today.

    The answers from the Minister to Mr Gogarty in response to questions, demonstrates how far removed the Department of Defence is from the knowledge re governance responsibilities and International laws pertaining to National Societies. The Ministers Department appears to be taking their lead perhaps from the PR representative of the Red Cross who has been spinning constantly since this debacle began.

    Maybe the Minister will be given a breakdown of the expected costings that have been incurred by the Society in legal fees relating to the case against UPC and Google. After all we are paying for it and if not who is…????

  3. Anonymous3:21 AM

    In reponse to a question from Joan Burton TD the Minister Mr Tony Kileen made the following statement:
    "The issue of the bank account in question is being dealt with by the Society. It is my understanding that all funds have been properly accounted for and that there is no suggestion of any wrong doing in relation thereto. The Society has put in place new and revised procedures so that such circumstances do not recur".

    Now lets look at who is giving Mr Kileen the info, the Sociey, that means the Executive told the Minister there is no problem, was it not members of the Executive that were being accused of wrong doing? and those accused have told the Minister we wont do it again.... are these the same people who have been accused several times over the last three dacades and like the leopard have retained their spots....

    So the accused are investigating themselves and are now not carrying out and investigation into themselves and are being assisted by a new chairman to insure that they won't do it again.

    Well. that just makes me so happy I can now run down and make sure I give them lots of money in the sure knowledege that whilst they may be guilty of keeping money from the victims of the Tsunami and other appeals at least they wont do it again. Bollocks to that !

  4. Anonymous5:08 AM

    I liken the Irish Red Cross to a sandwich company; a customer comes in and orders a sandwich and sits down in anticipation of his order meeting his expectations. So he sits and waits and after quite some time, several years, his order finally comes, but its not what he wanted. The manager says to the customer I know what you wanted, but that’s not what you’re getting. I know you have paid for something else, but it’s the management that makes the decisions around here so if you don’t like it well you can complain to the owners. The customer contacts the owners and they look bewildered and empathise with the customer, but decide that actually whilst they might own the sandwich bar they don’t actually have any say in how it is run or maybe its they dont accept their responsibility as the owners and just hide away. So the customer decides to hell with this and writes to the financier who fund the sandwich company who says well I know the sandwich bar is loosing money, causing embarrassment to everyone and the owners have no say but still lets just say we forget the fact you didn’t get what you wanted and so as to make it easy for everyone just you go eat somewhere else in future. In fact you are barred from this sandwich store. So for all you sandwich lovers who expect honest and professional customer service and a well prepared sandwich for a fair price, well you'd better go somewhere else!