Tuesday, November 23, 2010

11th anniversary of staff call for an independent investigation into the Irish Red Cross

Today, 23rd November 2010, marks the eleventh anniversary since that momentous day back in 1999 when nine permanent Irish Red Cross employees courageously went on Irish national television (RTE) and called on the Irish Government to immediately launch an independent enquiry into the running of the organisation.

The Irish Red Cross had a much smaller head office than it does today so nine staff constituted most of the permanent employees. The brave nine staff, who had reached the end of their patience with the organisation’s controlling board members, were interviewed on RTE TV by one of Ireland’s best known and most respected investigative journalists, Charlie Bird. The staff were supported in their action by at least one member serving in a governance position.

The staff made it clear that their unprecedented action was taken for one reason and one reason only, to protect the integrity of the Society. The people in charge of the Irish Red Cross back in 1999 are still the same people dominating the organisation today. It is deeply saddening that the crisis of 1999 did not lead to real change or reform but rather the empty promises that were made remain unfulfilled. As a direct result the Irish Red Cross remains in permanent crisis and will do so until fundamental restructuring of its governance takes place and a completely new leadership installed.

So on this day, 23rd November 2010, this Blog would like to acknowledge the true bravery, daring and courage of those nine Irish Red Cross staff and the individuals who supported them in their bold stand against incompetence, power and misgovernance. They will forever be able to hold their heads high.

The full text of the RTE news article (on its web) which followed the RTE TV appearance is below:

Irish Red Cross staff calls on government to set up inquiry

23rd November 1999

The Secretary General of the Red Cross, Paul Lynch, has responded to today's call by its staff for an independent investigation into the running of the charity. In a statement, Mr Lynch said that the Irish Red Cross Society, with the assistance of an outside consultant, is nearing the completion of a strategic review. He said that the review's implementation would necessarily involve change for volunteers and staff.

However, a spokesperson for the workforce said that they did not believe the review was truly independent. The representative said that the investigation staff would need to look at the overall structures of the organisation, starting at the very top.

Most of the permanent staff of the Irish Red Cross have called on the Government to set up an inquiry into the running of the organisation. In an exclusive interview with RTÉ News, the staff members of what is regarded as one of the most prestigious charities in the country, say that they are taking this step in an effort to protect the integrity of the organisation. They also want the 1939 Act, which set up the Red Cross, amended to bring it into line with modern practices.

The Irish Red Cross is almost 60-years-old, but today morale at its headquarters, at Merrion Square in Dublin, is at an all time low according to the majority of those who work there. Last night, in an unprecedented public revolt, nine of the staff came together for RTÉ News to call on the Government to set up an investigation into the running of the charity.

The Red Cross, whose patron is the President of Ireland, comes under the aegis of the Department of Defence. Last year, it received over £500,000 from the state. It also collects millions of pounds every year for disaster relief. The staff is not claiming any impropriety in the handling of donations, but they say that on occasions, there has been a 'slowness' in sending out funds specifically collected for emergency relief.

In the last two years, the organisation has lost almost half of its senior staff, including its Secretary General, the public relations officer, a youth director and a fund-raiser and a clerical officer. In October of this year, the sacking of the financial controller led to calls for his reinstatement from the majority of the staff. A case is now being taken against the charity for unfair dismissal.

Staff also claim that deep divisions have emerged between the permanent staff and the executive over the running of the organisation. The staff says that the only way to solve the long running difficulties is an independent inquiry, which they say should also involve the International Red Cross.

The link for the article is:


It is not the critic who matters; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but he who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat-Theodore Roosevelt, 26th American President


  1. Anonymous1:13 AM

    I know that some members of the Executive Committee in the Irish Red Cross purport to associate themselves with being Christian; I wondered how they balance their actions with the doctrine of their faith. It then occurred to me that they must be following the churches doctrine on “lying” so that whilst they might in their mind say they will hold an investigation in reality, “they will not”.

    St Raymond is attributed with the doctrine that allows the practice of being economical with the truth. So when the Executive suggest that they will “Investigate” such equivocations are known as metal reservations. This doctrine allows the person to lie but only for the better good. So whilst they might utter the words, in their mind they know that the understanding of these words will be taken as that they will be holding an investigation.

    This lie is for the greater good of themselves and the Red Cross so as such is not a lie.

  2. Anonymous3:33 AM

    Can someone please tell me who elects this executive, is it self nomination or the government?

  3. Anonymous3:49 AM

    Great article blogger on the 11th anniversary of staff demanding an independent investigation. What despair, my god! 11 years on and the people in charge have made it even worse it seems than in 1999.

    Any news on Cork Area vote of no confidence in Declan o'Sullivan, Acting Secretary General? Any news on the joke of an internal investigation into Tony Lawlor and the Tipperary bank account? Any news on the managers' perks referred to in some other comments? Any news on a new Secretary General? I'd say staff are counting the days! I have heard in my branch most of the Executive are counting the days too and are putting pressure on the Chairman to hurry up the process. What a super duper Christmas present it would be for staff to have a new Secretary General announced before Christmas! C'mon Santa Claus, please please please, most of the staff deserve this, they have been good boys and girls all year!! What torture 2010 has been for them.

    A new Secretary General will help things lots but the big reform has to happen and the inner sanctum on the Executive replaced with fresh blood.

    Maybe Santa Claus could put a new Secretary General in the Christmas stocking and the main present, a new Executive Committee, under the Christmas tree :-) So everybody dont forget to write your letters to Santa Claus!! If you have been good your wishes might be granted!

  4. Anonymous4:28 AM

    So they dismissed you Noel, only found out. What cowards!! You must have many damaging and incriminating information on them. Because they really dont like you much!! Well done to you.

    Dont worry Noel. You have won and won well. Even though these guys remain in power everyone now knows their real characters, their real abilities and what they have done for so long. So well done, you may not think it but you have been victorious in your objectives. These people have been disgraced and will never recover again. Yes they are in their same positions but they know they have been exposed and they know everyone else knows and that is hurting them every single day and eats away at them. People will smile at them and shake their hands but everyone knows and is thinking 'I read what Wardick wrote, what the newspapers wrote, what I saw on Prime Time, this guy is a disgrace but I have to smile and shake his hand anyway'. Very few people respect these guys and when you lose that you lose everything.

    People are taken out in life Noel because others are afraid of them. Lawlor and O'Sullivan are terrified of you, totally afraid of you. You might feel bad after losing your job but its because you were a big threat to these people that it happened. You are still a big threat and they know it. You are not afraid of things, you are not scared, you are not frightened. Lawlor and O'Sullivan are terrified, scared and frightened men. So they had to take you out Noel just like all good men and women get taken out.

    As someone else said in a comment. Wear your dismissal with pride.

  5. Anonymous5:34 AM

    I really hope staff get their Christmas wish of a new Sec Gen. Even amongst the long and chequered history of individuals the organization has endured, the current ACTING SG has really managed to distinguish himself.

  6. Anonymous11:25 PM

    I have seen Secretary Generals come and go even when Una Mc Gurk became Chair I thought this is good we will see change as now we have someone that as a Barrister should be able to think laterally. How wrong I was! they came and left several of them over the years. They came in with full intention to do the job, but soon found out that they were just being groomed for what was to come. They soon found out that the roost has no room for another chicken.

    The Executive wore them down demoralised them and spit them out the front door. The last lady Gen. Secretary found that out. What was she told by one of the self serving bafoons, "Go home and do your knitting", so don't expect for one second that a secretary general will make changes. It's the Executive taht chooses the the new person. Yep the spineless ones !

    They will decide who will be their slave and they will only appoint someone whom they consider will be able to be manipulated and disposed of easily.

    Some goood examples, Martin Good, Veronica Canning, Paul Lynch to name but a few...!

    Some even thought and were given the impression that they had joined the club. They were now apart of the inner sanctum, they trusted nad were humiliated like their predecessors kicked out the front door and the door closed.

    Far fetched it sounds, but the truth often is !

  7. Anonymous11:36 PM

    Want to see some more debate on this sham !


    The minister was hilarious he wasn't even listening his answer could have been the weather report as it had no bearing whatsoever on the content of what Finian Mc Grath asked. The Minister just read out the same old speel. At one stage it sounded like he did not have a clue what he was reading and he got lost.

    Just goes to show that this Minister could not give a toss about what goes on in the Red Cross. He still has not answered a single question on the topic other than repeating what has been written by the speech writers for the last 20 years. When I look back at Dail debates and answers given every single answer is the same. This is how informed debate goes in Ireland. You could stand a Muppet in the Dail with a recording and you wouldn't know the difference.

  8. Anonymous4:00 AM

    Who elects the Executive and how are they elected?