Sunday, October 24, 2010

Some of Ireland's most respected politicians question Minister on Irish Red Cross situation

On Thursday 21st October 2010 five leading politicians from Ireland's two main Opposition political parties, Fine Gael and Labour, issued formal questions to the Minister for Defence in the Irish Parliament, Dail Eireann, regarding the ongoing difficulties at the Irish Red Cross. This follows a number of questions put to the Minister on Tuesday 19th October by one of his own government colleagues, Paul Gogarty of the Green Party (see previous blog article for details and link). The politicians who posed questions on the 21st were:

  • David Stanton, Fine Gael spokesperson on Defence
  • Jim O'Keefe, Fine Gael
  • Michael D. Higgins, Labour
  • Joan Burton, Labour
  • Joe Costello, Labour

It is to be noted that Michael D. Higgins is one of Ireland's most respected and highly regarded politicians and is likely to be a front runner in next year's Presidential election. Joan Burton of Labour is their Spokesperson on Finance and has a very real chance of being the country's next Minister of Finance once a general election is called.

Deputy David Stanton, Fine Gael, asked the Minister in one of his questions if he was the one responsible for delaying 'change, reform and progress' within the Irish Red Cross. Despite the Minister giving his usual standard answers that say very little a number of interesting points were noted in his reply, namely:

  • The 'Office of the Attorney General and the Parliamentary Counsel' are now examining the situation at the Irish Red Cross so that the necessary reform can be effected.
  • The Minister classified the plans as 'a major restructuring'. This Blog is of the view that the proposals submitted by the Irish Red Cross to Government will do nothing apart from retain the status quo and ensure those in power for the last twenty years remain in power.
  • The Minister refused to be drawn on a timetable. Deputy Stanton pushed him on this but to no avail.
  • The Minister stated that he expected the Irish Red Cross to be able to fill the post of Secretary General 'in the near future'.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins, Labour, asked two critically important questions:

  1. Asked the Minister his views on the sums of money being spent on consultants and legal fees by Irish Red Cross
  2. Asked the Minister his views on the reported salary of €160,000 a year paid to the Acting Secretary General.

Deputy Joan Bruton, Labour, asked the Minister about the claims made on the RTE (national TV broadcaster) Prime Time investigative program of 26th August 2010 about the Irish Red Cross and whether the Minister felt an independent investigation was required.

Deputy Joe Costello, Labour, asked the Minister for an update on the reported independent accountants review of a specific Irish Red Cross bank account. As was reported two weeks ago by the Sunday Independent and subsequently in this Blog we now know that the Irish Red Cross has cancelled this independent investigation and will instead carry it out themselves!

Deputy Jim O' Keefe, Fine Gael, asked the Minister for a progress update on the governance reform proposals and if statutory changes will be necessary.

The full transcript of the questions asked and the Minister's responses can be found on the following links (each link contains different questions and the Minister's response to those questions):

Irish Red Cross : 2 Dail debates================================Priority Questions (21 Oct 2010)

*Irish Red Cross* SocietyIrish Red Cross Society (21 Oct 2010)

Written Answers - Irish Red Cross: Irish Red Cross (21 Oct 2010)

Written Answers - Irish Red Cross: Irish Red Cross (21 Oct 2010)

Written Answers - Irish Red Cross: Irish Red Cross (21 Oct 2010)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:08 AM

    The current Executive of the Red Cross would like to offer this answer to your blog. they could not care less about your questions or the opinions of Minister of Defence they are untouchable and accountable to no one. Does no one get the message !