Sunday, November 14, 2010

Irish Red Cross Whistleblower to appeal decision according to media reports

On 14th November the Sunday Independent newspaper, Ireland’s biggest selling Sunday publication, contained the following article on the dismissal of Noel Wardick, former Head of International Department at Irish Red Cross:

Irish Red Cross whistleblower to appeal dismissal

Author of critical blog vows to continue speaking out against charity’s ‘toxic culture’

By Daniel McConnell, Chief Reporter

The Irish Red Cross whistleblower, who was fired last Tuesday, is to appeal his dismissal, the Sunday Independent has learnt.

The Irish Red Cross (IRC) has confirmed that Noel Wardick, a former head of international development, has been sacked.

“Following a disciplinary process, Mr Wardick’s employment with the Irish Red Cross has been terminated with effect from November 10th. Mr Wardick is entitled to appeal this decision,” the organisation said in a statement issued to the Sunday Independent.

Mr Wardick said he was determined to fight on.

He was suspended with pay in September after he revealed himself to be the author of an online blog that was highly critical of the organisation.

The issue is expected to dominate the IRC’s central council meeting next week.

Mr Wardick got himself in trouble for highlighting what the ex-international development chief described as a ‘toxic culture’ in the IRC, which he said was controlled by a small number of powerful people.

Mr Wardick added that his sacking would not stop him from speaking out about what was wrong at the IRC.

He said his dismissal occurred because he was a whistleblower.

“My dismissal will do nothing to dampen my determination to see fundamental change at the IRC”, he said.

He added that he had written to David O’Callaghan, the new Chairman of the IRC “on matters of serious concern. He has neither responded nor acknowledged any of my correspondence. He has made no effort to contact me whatsoever”.

Key to Mr Wardick’s concerns was how €162,000 in donations to victims of the Asian tsunami remained in a Tipperary bank account for more than three years.

He also questioned the delays in appointing a full time new Chairman and Secretary General.

Defence Minister Tony Killeen’s repeated refusal to intervene in the IRC controversy has been heavily criticised by the opposition.

Fine Gael defence spokesman David Stanton said: “The minister continues to sit on his hands while the reputation of the Irish Red Cross is being hammered.

“This is having a real impact on the thousands of hard working volunteers around the country. He needs to tackle the governance structures so the Red Cross can put this whole sorry episode behind it and move on,” he added.

On a separate matter:

Noel Wardick’s dismissal also carried on Whistleblowers Ireland website at:

And also:

The Central Council may make rules, not inconsistent with this Order, in relation to all or any of the following matters, that is to say:-
a) The organisation of the society
b) The management, control and procedure of the Society
c) The appointment and terms of office of officers of the Society
d) An extraordinary general meeting of the Central Council may be called at any time by the President of the Society or by the Chairman of the Central Council
e) Any other matter which in the opinion of the Central Council, it is expedient to provide for in order to enable the Society effectively to carry out its objects and exercise all or any of its powers.

Above from Rules of the Irish Red Cross.

Irish Red Cross rules clearly demonstrate that decision making power, including that relating to how long persons can remain on Executive and/or as Honorary Officers, rests with Central Council, and no-one else, not the Executive, not the Secretary General, not Geneva, not the Irish Government. As such the Central Council can decide, say for example, that no person can remain on Executive or in an honorary officer position for more than six years. Central Council could also decide, if it so agreed, that any Executive Committee member or honorary officer who has been in position for say, more than ten years, must immediately step down next May and not put themselves forward again, for say a minimum of three/four years. Such decisions would finally bring Irish Red Cross into line with normally accepted good charity/corporate governance practice. It would also ensure we are no longer at variance with International Red Cross guidelines on governance and board structure.


  1. Anonymous10:33 AM

    Mr Wardick you have refereed on several occasions to the sum of money in the Tipperary Account and the value of € 162K what about the same value being taken put into the General fund belonging to the IRC during the months following the HAITI Appeal, the value of this money ? We are probably looking at is in excess of 600k now if we were to look at the Appeals going back a few years and look at how the general fund has increased during the periods of Appeals the accumulation of these figures might well run into a number of millions....

    So when will the new chairman have someone look into the accounts or will he take the same position that he took when acting as Secretary General for the Dept. Defence when the same allegations were being made about other funds...
    oh yes I remember well, what they did then "NOTHING" ! There is your reason for not getting a response Mr Wardick from this chairman... he knows exactly what not to do, from past experience of course. Then again there was no Blog back then... So don't get too upset at not getting a response maybe this chairman is waiting for someone to write the letter for him, the current Secretary General maybe? well we all know how good at he is at not responding to letters also.

  2. Anonymous11:53 AM

    Mr Wardick, you have made your point over and over. If you had contacted the area's before putting up this blog I may have sympathy for you but the way you went about it you have made me angry and disappointed. You have selected the information you wish to publish, you have inflicted public disgrace on the members of the Irish Red Cross. You have failed to tell us that the Tsunami account is still open and active. You failed to tell us that the content of that account was transfered in 2008. You failed to tell us that the membership has no idea of what is happening internationally since you took over your post. I am an active member for the last 16 years and I have no idea what the Irish Red Cross is doing internationally since 2006. In my opinion it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Do us all a favor and crawl back under the rock you have been under for the last 5 or 6 years.

  3. Anonymous2:42 AM

    Aha the true humanitarian spirit of the grossly abusinve nature of some of the members within the Red Cross so you have been in the Red Cross 16 years or one year 16 times !

    What do you say about the 600k approx. taken out of the Haiti fund to fatten the RC general account. At least you have a pulse unlike the other spinless individuals who haven't the wit to even ask what are the problems? Sorry you are worried about public disgrace so it's only disgraceful if you get caught Hmmmm!

  4. Anonymous5:13 AM

    If you want to know why most members don't know about the international work of the Irish Red Cross just ask the Executive- they have gone out of their way to ensure that members and the International Department do not build up a relationship. It suits them to have little to no engagement between membership and international work as it makes easier for them to divert funds towards first aid.
    However, as a member you also have personal responsibility for seeking out information about your organisation- in the time it took you to write that post you could have gone on the Irish Red Cross website and informed yourself about the organisation's work internationally.
    Those at the top will only draw attention to this work when they need pictures for misleading campaigns.

  5. Anonymous7:01 AM

    Daily Mail page 10 Today
    "Charity sacks whistleblower for misconduct"

    Once again in the headlines but not for any good the Red Cross is doing.

  6. Anonymous11:11 AM

    "Mr Wardick, you have made your point over and over"......."Do us all a favor and crawl back under the rock you have been under for the last 5 or 6 years".....

    So the poster who posted this comment accepts that Mr. Wardick has made his point, do you accept the point? Either way, is this an acceptable way to counter the point ie with personally abusive comments, or is this the acceptable Irish Red Cross way ie make your point and shut up or you'll be fired? The comment above ,for me, only reiterates the overwhelming evidence Mr. Wardick has presented which points towards extremely hostile attitudes among some in the Irish Red Cross. Mr. Wardick's evidence has been presented in a concise and documented manner, clearly via the only means left open to him. Mr. Wardick has consistently sought clarity on the issues he has raised. They are serious issues with serious evidence to suggest they are worthy of an investigation.
    Do you really think contacting the Areas would have made any difference? Where are the Areas now to stand up and support someone defending the very principles of the Red Cross?
    Do you think transferring public money from an undeclared bank account three years after it was donated makes it all ok???
    You are not aware of what the Irish Red Cross does internationally? Why haven't you asked the Central Council to address this in your 16 years of membership? (in meantime have a look at the very informative Irish Red Cross website)

    Mr Wardick: You have made your point. It is a good point. Do not stop making your point. Your point is hitting home. There is support for you and your fight to save the Irish Red Cross from the destruction within.

  7. Anonymous12:52 PM

    To the intellectual genius who once again has told Noel Wardick to 'crawl back under his rock': Have you any idea the embarrassment you cause this great organisation when you write such stupid mind numbing idiotic statements? I cringe with shame when I read what you write. It is your failure to deal with reality and what is happening in the IRC that has disgraced us publicly. You are clearly one of these people who believe Seanie Fitzpatrick of Anglo Irish Bank has done nothing wrong and that our bankers, politicians and developers have our best interests at heart. Just like you believe the inner sanctum have the interest of the IRC at heart. You believe any ole story they spin you and for that I do sort of feel sorry for you.

    By the way the International Department has shared everything it can with members over the last five years but as the poster above says its the Executive who control what information goes out and who gets it. Noel Wardick has provided detailed reports to the Secretary Generals every week, the Executive every month and the Central Council every six months. The International Department report to the Central Council is normally 50-55 pages long. Have you never seen this? If not why not?? Has your Area Rep not given it to you?Thats his/her job, to report back to members. In 5 years there has been 10 such reports. It was the current Acting Secretary General who cancelled the Irish Red Cross quarterly newsletter where there used to be many stories and reports of the overseas work. Why werent you reading these before the magazine was cancelled, they were posted to every single member? Read the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Annual Reports and you will see lots of detail on the work of the International Dept in up to 22 countries. Ask Declan O'Sullivan where is the 09 Annual Report??? Its November 2010 and he hasnt managed to produce the 09 Annual Report yet. What a joke. Why dont you look at the IRC website where there is lots of info on overseas work. Google Noel Wardick's name and lots more info on IRC overseas will come up including videos of him in Niger in July 2010. Why is it the senior managers were not allowed attend the last 2 Central Council meetings when it was always policy that they attend? Because they want them silenced. Why was Wardick not allowed go around the country to branches to update them on the Tsunami response like he wanted to? The 2008 Tipp money was recovered in 2008 but only because a secret audit found it, it wasnt voluntarily handed over. And as the Sun Times reported it still is not spent. What about the top class IRC overseas DVD that Wardick had made which shows all IRC work in lots of countries. This DVD was sent to every single branch in 2010. So stop your ridiculous whinging, cop on, ask some bloody questions of your Reps!!!

  8. Anonymous12:58 PM

    To Central Council Members reading this Blog.
    Tomorrow morning there will be delivered to Merrion Square correspondence addressed with your name and marked private and confidential.

    I would have liked to send this letter to you myself, but the current Secretary General has informed me that he will not respond to my correspondence seeking this information so thus the long way round in having you informed !

    There appears to be many letters unanswered in Merrion Square a policy or just rudeness you tell me !

  9. Anonymous1:42 PM

    The Central Council of the Society will meet next Saturday in the Alexander Hotel in Dublin this will be familiar to some Council members as 11 years ago in the Penthouse Suite of the same building staff met with RTE to have their concerns aired on National TV, at the same time I was being interviewed outside RTE by Charlie bird. So 11 years later what has changed? well, the Auditors got the heave ho and it wasn't because they were doing something wrong. What was it at that time the Executive Committee were scared of ? they needed to get rid of the financial controller, why? of course he did object strongly to making alterations to the books! was it that ?

    Was it the allegations in relation to the bullying and intimidation of staff ? Was it the allegations of money in banks where it should not have been ? Was it the allegations of minute rigging ? What was it that has taken 11 years to keep the same status quo. It was so funny seeing Ms Callan on prime time rolled out to once again cover up the mess for the boyos ! She was like a fish out of water.

    So next Saturday 11 years on they will all once again come together and bull**** each other into believing that this whole mess is Noel Wardicks fault or mine for daring to raise our heads against what is morally wrong.

    Noel Wardick was not around 11 years ago and nothing has changed., no internal investigation was held then as promised. Maybe someone will bake a cake and a celebration can be held at being able to hold out for so long !

    Lets see what the Council will decide re: the allegations now and those that have yet to be addressed. Will they all be able to act as witnesses in the Google UPC case. Google should drag the whole bunch down to the four courts. Will the Central Council carry towels to wash their hands or will some do as I would expect stand up like Irish men and women and be counted for what is right !

  10. Anonymous12:09 AM

    The the guy above who asked Mr Wardick to take a crawl. It is now several weeks since I contacted my Area Chairperson and my Central Council Representative and the Regional Office. Since that no reponse and I mean nothing has been heard since so there is your answer ! Will they ever get back to me doubtful !

  11. Anonymous6:08 AM

    I remember reading comments two or three weeks ago that the Cork Area of the Irish Red Cross has issued a vote of no-confidence in the Acting Secretary General, Declan O'Sullivan and two of his managers. Given the mess in the Irish Red Cross this was hardly a surprise but I have some questions:

    1. What action has been taken by the Executive and Central Council following this vote of no confidence? A formal vote of no confidence needs a formal response and a formal investigation.

    2. Why has Declan O'Sullivan and his 2 managers not been suspended pending an investigation into the reasons for the vote of no confidence. Wardick was suspended while his case was investigated so I dont understand why O'Sullivan and his 2 managers are not suspended.

    3. Who is going to investigate such a serious matter? It has to be done by people with no vested interest, unlike Wardick's investigation. Cork is one of the biggest membership areas of IRC in Ireland and if it is stating it has no confidence in the Acting SG, O'Sullivan, and his two managers then that is a very very big crisis.

    4. Maybe O'Sullivan is not suspended because he will presumably leave the IRC soon, once the new Secretary General is hired. Maybe the Executive think it easier to have him go quietly and soon instead of launching a big investigation into why the Cork area has voted no confidence in him. I dont agree with this. O'Sullivan should be subject to an investigation and he should be made answer to the no confidence motion in him.

    5. The two managers will not be leaving soon so why are they still working when the no confidence motion in them has been passed. They should be suspended right away and an investigation into their performance, activities and especially their terms, conditions and 'perks' started immediately.

    It seems IRC has one set of rules for those who speak out against them and another set for those who keep quiet and do what they are told.

  12. Anonymous9:17 AM

    It's like this the Executive and the Vice Chairman Mr Lawlor could not give a toss about you Cork or anywhere else in the Country so ye can have your wee get together and fill yourselves with self importance and then go home confident that your motion will have effect.. Well, get over it you have as much hope of getting action as going on the next shuttle to the space station...

    The High Court convicted the troop indoors on their stupidity of sacking Jim Walsh and not a single resignation was obtained despite a motion of no confidence at the time. They have paid out hundreds of thousands of your money in payments to staff as settlements and you think they care about Cork, don't loose any sleep over it !

  13. Anonymous12:42 AM

    Anyone fancy breakfast and a picket in the Alexandar at the weekend?

  14. Anonymous8:09 AM

    Well remembered about the NO CONFIDENCE motion from the Cork Area in the Acting Secretary General, Declan O'Sullivan and his two managers. I support your points above. Why is'nt O'Sullivan and his 2 managers investigated for this? Maybe you are right that since O'Sullivan will leave Irish Red Cross soon when the new General Secretary is appointed the powers that be will be will do nothing. I hope and pray they have good candidates to choose from for the General Secretary post because another year of this will kill off everyone with depression.

    The previous poster used the word 'perks' when talking about O'Sullivan's 2 managers. Are they on 'perks'? In a charity? I hope not. Central Council members need to ask questions and get re-assurances that these managers who Cork vote no confidence in are NOT getting any special 'perks'. If they are they need to be stopped, repaid and whoever authorised them held accountable.

  15. Anonymous12:47 PM

    Who needs perks when you consider that Declan O Sullivan earns as much as the Prime Minister of the UK of course Declann has responsibilities, no one knows what they are though as he is incapable of giving a straight answer to anything! His talents will be missed when he leaves the Red Cross, soon hopefully !

  16. Anonymous2:23 PM

    I would just like to say for the record that this whole campaign is not about Noel Wardick or anyone else for that matter and it is certainly not against the Red Cross. The Red Cross is like a road. We often here the term its a dangerous road, it's not the road that is dangerous it's the eggits that use it. The Red Cross is not bad its the Executive Committee a group of self proclaimed rulers who actually think they are ths savours of the Red Cross and the organisation would flounder without them. Well, I have some news for them, the sooner this organisatiion gets rid of you the sooner the Society will grow as it should.

    It's the elephant in the room and your intimidating and conspiring ways are slowly coming to and end and as with all things bad justice always wins! So get your ass into some other organisation who needs dominating !

  17. Anonymous4:32 AM

    IRC is bringing the whole International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescents into disrepute. The silence of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) is deafening. When previous National members have lost their integrity in the past the IFRC has intervened to assist in the reorganisation. Does this reflect the colonial attitude of the Movement in that its ok to intervene when its a developing countrys membership is at stake but not so when its a developed country such as Ireland?
    I suggest that IRC has now got to the point where the divisions and failures are not just a matter for reform but for root and branch reorganisation. As for Liberia RC, this would involve forced resignation and re-election of all office bearers carried out under the Ministry of Defence and IFRC oversight. Subsequently all staff would be required to resubmit themselves for employment interviews and the IRC could then be rebuilt with new blood and a new fresh start which would put humanitarian concerns over private interests.

  18. Anonymous1:40 AM

    To all those who say that they have clear eveidence of wrong doing. If the internal process has not dealt with the matters you raised then take it to the local Gardai and provide them with the eveidence of wrong doing and they will investigate and procecute the wrong doings!

    For the poster who has copies of the accounts with eviedence proving wrong doing contact the Offices of the Omonbusman and Offices of the Revenue Commissionors. All Directors are personally responsible for overseeing accurate and transparent accounting practises so these Offices will help you. Act now and lets get a move on to rebuild our Society.

  19. Anonymous5:37 AM

    Perks for senior managers??? Well if thats true it would be soooo typical of the rot at the Irish Red Cross.Those managers must be sweating big time since news is out that they are getting 'special treatment'.

    I agree with the poster who recommends suspending Declan O'Sullivan and his 2 managers while the vote of no confidence in them is investigated.

    What about suspending the Vice Chairman Tony Lawlor while the investigation into the Tpperary undeclared bank account goes on? Maybe he has been suspended but if he hasnt he should be.

    Very interesting information from the poster about the Liberia RC. If IFRC came in there and all board members and staff were forced to resign and reapply for their posts and everything start afresh then I dont see why IFRC would not do something the same with Irish RC with assistance from the Department of Defence. This is the only way Irish Red Cross can be saved.

    Just like the IMF has had to come in to save Ireland. We might as well bring everybody in and have a mega clean out of the rotten garbage everywhere!!!

  20. Anonymous4:20 PM

    To the person above re going to the Gardai this has already been done and unfortunately whilst the wrong doing envolves retention of monies and not giving auditors all the information they need and misuse of monies donated but used eslewhere this is technically not a crime. Whilst it is definitely immoral and unjust.

    Directors of companies are responsible yes, there are no directors within the Red cross and the revenue commisioners could not care less what they do with donations. Hell they can't control the Banks or FAS or the politicians what chance with the like of these bafoons.

  21. Anonymous2:06 PM

    For all of you worldwide that are reading this Blog you cannot imagine the frustration the members of the Irish Red Cross are suffering at this moment. The management committee are so far removed from reality that they have refused to address any of the content in this Blog nor allow the Governing body to even discuss any of the serious allegations contained herein. The matters that have been raised are not on the Agenda of the next National Council meeting.

    Does that not say a thousand words !

  22. Anonymous12:21 PM

    It is in some ways understandable that the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescents are reluctant to intervene because of sovereignty issues. When however there is a serious question of integrity as with IRC it is essential that the International Movement lives up to one of its 7 Principles, ie that of Universality, and comes to the aid of one of its members. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link and IRC as that weakest link pose a threat to the Movement as a whole if no action is taken and taken expeditiously.

  23. Anonymous4:32 AM

    Did I miss this or has anyone said what perks are given and to whom exactly?and who are the 2 managers that received a vote of no confidence from cork and for what reason?

    Trying to join the dots as I came to the party late!!