Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Serious deficiencies in our accounting procedures"-Irish Red Cross Chairman, 11th December 2010


The Irish Red Cross Central Council met on 11th December 2010. Two highly respected and committed life members of the Irish Red Cross exercised their right to protest and demonstrated outside the meeting, held in the Alexander Hotel in Dublin. Mary Cullivan, a former long serving finance officer at Irish Red Cross headquarters and Gerard Moyne, a former member of Irish Red Cross governance structures, called on the Irish Red Cross to implement the recommendations of Transparency International which seeks an independent investigation into the operations of the Society and the reinstatement of Noel Wardick pending the results of such an investigation. Mr. Moyne and Ms. Cullivan also called on the Irish Red Cross to bring in long over due deep rooted fundamental reform of its governance structures.
The Transparency International statement is available on the link below:
During the Central Council meeting a damning internal report into the Tipperary Bank account saga was issued. A comprehensive blog article will be posted on this in due course.
The Irish Times, 13th December 2010, carries a report on the failure of the IRC Tipperary branch to return funds, collected for the Tsunami, to the Irish Red Cross head office for nearly four years. The Chairman of the Irish Red Cross, David O' Callaghan, admitted "serious deficiencies in our accounting procedures". The link is:
The Sunday Independent (12th December 2010) carries a large article on the highly critical findings contained in the report. The headline reads "Tsunami funds lay idle in bank for three years-Errors at Red Cross left €162,000 untouched". It should be noted that the report is only carried in the 'city final' edition of the Sunday Independent as the story broke late on 11th December. The link to this article is:
In addition both the Irish Times and RTE (national broadcaster) carried reports of the findings late on the evening of 11th December.
The Irish Times report leads with "Report critical of Red Cross" and is available on:
The RTE report is available on:
As mentioned above a detailed blog article will be written on the findings of the report. It can only be hoped that those responsible for the blatant failures identified in the report will do the honourable thing and resign immediately. Surely their positions are now untenable? The report's importance will be severely diminished if no-one is held accountable.
Finally it was also confirmed at the Central Council meeting that the Irish Red Cross has reversed its decision to continue legal action against Google Inc. Central Council members were informed the Irish Red Cross has decided not to sue Google for the names and IP addresses of all people who posted comments on the Blog. This is a significant victory for all those who believe in and campaign for free speech. It also prevents any further embarassment for the Irish Red Cross on the matter. This blog welcomes the decision and is relieved to see that on occasion common sense can still prevail at the Iirsh Red Cross.


16 comments:

  1. I have fought the mismanagement of the Irish Red Cross for 25 years and have now been totally vindicated, I expect nothing less than Noel Wardick to be re-instated and a full investigation into the actions and intimidation carried out by members of the Executive Committee et al. I expect that those responsible for the sacking of Noel Wardick and failed to adhere to the rules that are abiding to National Societies shall immediately resign as you now have no place in this Humanitarian Society.

    I demand action not promises of action we have truck loads of promises over the years and hundreds of thousands spent on strategies and plans with no implementation. Our work in forcing the Red Cross to rethink its absurd action against Google has also Bourne fruit.

    Those responsible for this too must also consider their position and do the right thing and resign!

    I would like to thank all the Central Council members who took the time to contact Noel Wardick to find out the truth and those who fought against him hang your head in the shame you have brought on this great organisation.

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  2. Anonymous2:51 PM

    Well, done ! You cannot move a herd without turning the first cow !

    Keep up the struggle you are both a credit to the Red Cross. At least no one can accuse you of any form of self gain. Even the devil must be shouted at from time to time...

    So now they have nothing to support the sacking of Noel Wardick, he has been totally vindicated.

    Is it true that a member of Tony Lawlors family is the treasurer in Tipperary branch that held the tsunami money. So they held this money for three years and the very guy who should know the rules of the Society did not apply them in his own Branch. What a joke! One rule for him and another for everyone else ! Why is he still involved kick his ass out !

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  3. Anonymous3:04 PM

    Noel, Mary and Gerard: Well Done.

    I can only guess that the announcement at the Central Council meeting that the IRC action against Google was cancelled was intended as a minor footnote. However this announcement is a hugely significant victory on a number of levels. Firstly: the very principle of free speech was attacked by the Irish Red Cross (or more specifically by a select few in power in the IRC). Your actions prove that the determination and will to protect free speech is irrepressible. Those in the Irish Red Cross who for so long have strived to suppress free speech have been dealt a huge blow. I hope the significance of this u-turn is not lost on them. Cracks have been there for a long time, this result has driven a wedge into one of those cracks, keep chipping away, the wall of injustice and fear in the Irish Red Cross is very close to crumbling. When that wall falls those responsible for building the wall will be held accountable.
    Secondly: this u-turn shows how, now more than ever, that the forum for discussion and the means of demanding accountability cannot be controlled by a power-hungry few. The fabulous world wide web is out there 24hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, in practically every corner of the globe. Those few in the IRC wishing to silence the likes of Noel, Mary and Gerard CANNOT SWITCH IT OFF. If there are some in the IRC who are actively working to hide deeds of mismanagement or other more serious actions surely they now must know they are fighting a losing battle.
    Thirdly: On a personal note, I thank Noel, Mary and Gerard. I have commented on this forum and others in the past. I choose to post comments anonymously. That is my choice. I have no fear of the consequences of my name being known, but I choose for my name not to be known - THAT IS MY CHOICE. HOW DARE SOMEONE IN THE IRISH RED CROSS THINK THAT THEY CAN OVER RULE MY PERSONAL CHOICE TO ANONYMOUS FREE SPEECH. Today I am delighted to know I live in a country where that right is preserved.

    Finally, the google debacle is actually only a side note to the sorry state of affairs at the Irish Red Cross. Mary, Gerard and Noel you should all be very proud of your actions and your continuing battle to save the Irish Red Cross. Unfortunately the organisation is in such a stranglehold that there is no way of voicing support for your actions within the organisation. Rest assured your actions are having the desired effect and I for one, as a true believer in the Red Cross Movement, am thankful that there are people willing to sacrifice so much to defend the Irish Red Cross from its destruction within.

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  4. Anonymous12:48 AM

    If there was an expectation that the Central Council would make a definitive decision at their meeting on Saturday then we were all truly under the influence of delusion. The Chariman who is not in the door a wet weekend has now took it upon himself to look at the decision of the appeal of Noel Wardick. This is just typical of a career civil servant who has now elevated himself to master of all decisions... I wonder did he in his career use the same structures to deal with disputes. Sack then take a look at the case afterwards and to hell with fairness.

    Then there is the Tipperary money which was known to be there but it took three years to disclose its presence, yes, even I'm confused.

    Then there is the current removal of 600k from the Haiti fund, no the Central Council do not wish to discuss that, but they will look at future Appeals, now that they have spent the money on consultants and the fees to pay one member of staff 160k a year.

    Not a single head rolled nor was there a mention of accountability, it appears as I forecast, the Managemnt of the Irish Red Cross are so far up each others tail they can't seem to see the difference from right and wrong.

    What did one Council memberr call Transparency International a useless organisation or words to that effect. This is the calibre of people we have heading up this Society. "Blinkered" and ill informed.

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  5. Anonymous5:06 AM

    The Chairman's statement ""... I propose to implement the recommendations in the report as a matter of urgency. Finally, I am happy to say that every cent of the monies donated for areas affected by the Tsunami has been and will go to relief projects in these areas."
    Does the Chairman understand the different phases of disaster response and that relief is an early stage of response. The relief phase has long since passed so the donated money can no longer be used in that way. The more later phases of rehabilitation and recovery have by now also passed in the tsunami areas and those in the business would understand that disaster risk reduction and development would now be more appropriate for funding. It would appear that the Chairman or those who would brief him are not conversant with the current strategies and activities of the Movement in the tsunami affected areas and it will be interesting to see a plan for spending of these donation which were so urgently needed at the time.

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  6. Keep on keepin' on. And if anyone is checking, your're just two clicks away from my name.

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  7. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Earlier today I wrote a formal response on the Irish Red Cross internal report into the Tpperary Bank Account. This I have now forwarded to the Irish Red Cross Chairman and also to the three individuals who carried out the investigation. I have posted four envelopes with my formal response to Irish Red Cross Headquarters. I can only hope the four individuals receive my response and that the alleged IRC HQ postal censorship policy doesnt intervene.

    Should other Central Council members wish to have a copy of my response they can contact me on noelwardick@yahoo.com and I will email a copy.

    Noel Wardick

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  8. It would appear that my letters to Council members has been met with anger and great annoyance... Well, let me add there is no greater annoyance or anger than knowing as a donor that the money given to assist those in need has been siphoned off for use in the General fund using the excuse "the donor did specify the Appeal", this of course would all happen in the midst of an Appeal like Haiti.

    Of course this annoyance is also garnered with the knowledge that the knowledge of wrong doing is being met with inaction or should I say legal action against the news bearer.

    So if your anger as Council members was used in the positive to engender change then this would probably be a better avenue for your beads of sweat !

    Not a single word as yet about the 7 million property portfolio ! Who really owns what?

    Change is painfull and for the Red Cross it has taken 30 years to even get the pain recognised so you must question your motifs if my small input causes you annoyance.

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  9. lost in space
    The irony of the admission of irregularities is is not on foot of an account in Tipperary, this on foot of accounts held by Head Office for years. Whilst they did not hide the money they just didn't use it. When I was a member of the Overseas Committee ( 1989) serious allegations were made by myself and others to the then Executive Committee that we, the Society were sitting on money that was supposed to be used for Appeals.

    What happened is typical of the current events, we like Noel Wardick were sacked and a sub committee of the Executive Committee was set up to investigate themselves... (sound familiar) this committee included Mr Tony Lawlor and Ms Sheila Callan (Prime Time fame). Needless to say they have yet to publish the findings of this internal investigation into themselves 20 years later.

    Some time later we were then to take issue with the Society of retention of money due to go to Armenia and retained for an inordinate period after the Appeal. It was an article I believe in the Irish Times and other events which shamed the Society into sending the money to the Federation some years later.

    So don't look at current events in isolation. One must also delve into the sacking of the Financial controller of the time (Mr Louis White) and the correspondence which relates to his refusal to change Society accounts. Who asked Mr White to change the accounts and why did he refuse ! Obviously his refusal and subsequent sacking were as a result of the Executive members expressing their power. Mr White like Noel Wardick refused to be apart of wrong doing.

    The reason why the financial controller refused to make changes are recorded and will be made available to any proper investigation into the Red Cross should that ever happen.

    In the mean time the status quo remains and Noel Wardick joins the line of those who refused to bow to the power of individuals within the Irish Red Cross

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  10. Dear Central Concil Members

    If you don't vote your conscience,
    how can you be sure you have one?

    Wirkman Virkkala

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  11. Anonymous11:32 PM

    I believe that the new Chairman has decided not to comply with the request from Transparency International to distrubute the letter sent to him. This indeed is just another demonstration of how this Society will act against the best intest of the organisation and foster a position of censorship. "We will decide what you know and when we want your opinion we will give it to you ",

    A previous comment said that the members of the Central Council were like Jelly fish with no backbone. It would appear this is the case as whilst the Society has admitted that Noel Wardick was correct they are taking zero action, other than to insure us it will not haooen again. Ok and the tooth fairy is real!

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  12. Anonymous5:02 AM

    Transparency International, a global organisation dedicated to fighting corruption and abuse of power, wrote an open letter to the Irish Red Cross Central Council via the Irish Red Cross Chairman. The link to the letter is in the article above. Transparency International called for an immediate independent investigation into the Irish Red Cross and the reinstatement of Noel Wardick. The recent internal report has proved Noel Wardick was 100% correct and he must feel very vindicated. What did the Irish Red Cross Chairman do? He did not even distribute the Transparency Int letter to Central Council members even though the letter was addressed to them. Once again Irish Red Cross attempts to shamelessly censor information flows. What paronia!! What stupidity as well as even Irish Red Cross must know they can not control and keep information secret. The more they try the more others are determined to beat them and beat them they do! Thank god for the likes of Gerard Moyne and Mary Cullivan who protested outside the Central Council meeting on 11th December. They distributed the Transparency International letter to central council members as they arrived.

    One Central Council member said Transparency International was "a rubbishy organisation". What stunning levels of intelligence!! Is it no wonder Irish Red Cross is in a mess with such intellectual heavy weights on its board.

    I can not believe that no central council member asked any questions about the Irish Red Cross €7 million property portfolio that no-one has information on and which the Irish Red Cross auditors, BDO, have said the organisation is breaking 'Standard Accounting Practice' on. So Central Council members did not ask any questions on this while at the same time a devastating internal report was issued on the disgraceful practices of people in the Tipperary branch and their failure to follow rules and procedures. The Chairman was forced to admit "serious deficiencies in our accounting procedures". Maybe we need another investigation, this time into the property porfolio. I think everyone knows that this one would be explosive and far more damaging than the Tipperary report. Will someone please start asking questions and demanding answers!!! That is your job as Central Council members.

    At least one very good decision was taken by CC members and that is to have another central council meeting in February 2011 instead of waiting until next June 2011. The ruling elite were very unhappy with this as it keeps the pressure on them as they slowly lose control back to the Central Council so its very important CC members guarantee this meeting takes place and is not cancelled for some spurious reason, which is what certain people will try to do. It will also be a good opportunity for CC members to meet with the new Secretary General who is expected to start in January.

    After the findings of the Tipperary investigation can anyone explain why the Vice Chairman, Tony Lawlor, has not been asked to step down? The shame goes on and on and on....

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  13. Anonymous6:28 AM

    If I had known I would have gone and stood alongside them... Fair play you all have my support. If anyone knows of any more protests, or feels like organising any, post on here and I'll be there.

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  14. Whilst we have no plans at the moment to protest we will no doubt not be ruling out taking more action if necessary as this charade has gone on for 30 years to many.

    We will welcome all any any support given to bring necessary pressure to have an open and efective debat into the irregularities within the Irish Red Cross, this means addressing the shortcomings as highlighted within this Blog. This will not be an occasion for forgive and forget. There has been one too many sackings by the Executive Committee and it's about time their perch was brought down to ground level !

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  15. Anonymous12:35 PM

    I feel there are many, like the poster above, who care enough about the Red Cross in Ireland and Internationally who would wish to join in any future protest against the exising IRC governance and management. Respecting the principle of Unity which requires that there can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country, it is understood that protesters must not set up in opposition but rather seek to rehabilitate the exising IRC. The Government as signature to the Geneava Conventions and reflective of the auxiliary role of the IRC to the Irish State, has also clear obligation and responsibility to ensure that the IRC operates effectively and with integrity. The IRC should, for example, have a major auxiliary role to Government in national emergencies and it is hard to see how it can fullfill such a vital role in its present state.
    I also join in calling for a chance to stand beside Mary and Gerard. The longest journey starts with a small step.

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  16. Anonymous3:10 PM

    The peson who suggested that "Transarency International" is a rubishy organisation is I believe a member of the Executive Committee. The least she should do is write and apologise for her stupidty! What an absolute failure to be informed. Another fine reflection on the Red Cross.

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