Friday, January 21, 2011

"Those who plot the destruction of others often fall themselves" and so it is with the Irish Red Cross

The article below was written the morning of 21st January 2011. By afternoon of 21st January 2011 the Irish Red Cross had announced that the new Secretary General will be Mr. Donal Forde, former Executive Director of AIB (one of Ireland's largest banks). This blog would like to sincerely congratulate Mr. Forde on his appointment and wishes him every success in fundamentally reforming and transforming the Irish Red Cross. He has a huge challenge on his hands and any real reform he intends to implement re governance will be feriously resisted by those who have everything to lose from reform, i.e those who have controlled the Irish Red Cross with an iron fist for twenty years. Hopefully Mr. Forde as Secretary General and Mr. O' Callaghan as Chairman will together be able to smash the vested interests that have for so long terribly damaged and shamed the Irish Red Cross.

The announcement of a new and permanent Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross is imminent. It can only be hoped that the Irish Red Cross makes the official statement before the name of the person is leaked out to all and sundry. Central Council members will wish to hear it through proper channels and not through the ever intensifying rumour mill. Time is of the essence.

It is understood the new Secretary General will take up his position on 1st February 2010. In the interim the Chairman of the Society, David O’Callaghan, will take over operational running of the organisation. This follows the departure of the former Acting Secretary General, Declan O’ Sullivan with immediate effect on 20th January 2010. It is understood Mr. O’ Sullivan’s services were no longer required, bringing to a sudden and swift end his twelve month reign.

As soon as the name of the new Secretary General is officially announced this Blog will immediately inform its readers. Recent developments must be seen in an extremely positive light as the process of fundamental reform, which this Blog has made as one of its primary objectives, must begin at the top. The installation of a well qualified, competent, professional, honest, passionate, capable and energetic Secretary General will be an important first step. As such this Blog can only hope the Irish Red Cross has chosen well.

Following the events of yesterday the next major step must be to hold the Vice Chairman of the Irish Red Cross accountable for his unacceptable role in the Tipperary Tsunami bank scandal and the multi-year violation of Irish Red Cross financial and accounting policy. His resignation must be sought and obtained. Should the Irish Red Cross continue to be controlled and dominated by one or two individuals who have breached all recognised good governance practice by remaining in their positions for up to twenty years in some cases then the removal of one Secretary General and the installation of another will be as effective as switching the captain on the titanic after it hit the iceberg.

Justice is the firm and continuous desire to render to everyone that which is his due-Author unknown


  1. Anonymous4:14 AM

    According to facebook some guy called Donal Forde is the new Sec general!!!

  2. Anonymous5:49 AM

    The new Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross is Donal Forde. Forde was the former Managing Director of AIB in the Republic of Ireland. When the bank began to collapse in 2009 he moved to a new position as Director of Strategy for the bank and left the bank completely seven months later after the new Chief Executive took over in late 2009. What a career switch to take over the Irish Red Cross!!!!

    Thanks to Tom Horwell, Irish Red Cross board member for posting this information on his facebook page on 20th January. Fair play to him for doing the decent thing and informing us, something that goes against the natural tendencies of the traditional Irish Red Cross secret cloak and dagger approach to everything.

  3. Anonymous5:57 AM

    So the Chairman has removed the Acting Secretary General with less than three hours notice to pack up and leave!! Wow!

    The rumours are that next in his sights is the Vice Chairman Tony Lawlor. This has been obvious for some time especially after the Chairman decided to put the damning internal report into Lawlor's Tipperary Branch bank account up on the Irish Red Cross website for everyone to see and read. This was supposedly designed to let everyone know what Lawlor and other Tipperary branch officers were up to. The story goes Lawlor was livid with the Chairman as he knows the report is very damaging to his credibility and reputation. Well done Chairman, great move!! With Donal Forde, the new CEO by your side I wish you every success in removing Lawlor. He will resist every step of the way but he has very little respect these days within the Irish Red Cross. Power yes but little regard or respect. If he is removed or sidelined (as the next best option) the Irish Red Cross rebirth will really begin. Finally light at the end of the tunnel.

  4. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Congratulations blogger, what a success for you!! Another objective achieved and the biggest result to date. You should be very proud of what you have done. You have been the driving force behind change in the Irish Red Cross. Without you none of these changes would be taking place. Lets hope Donal Forde, the new secretary general, continues and supports your great efforts. Well done.

  5. Anonymous11:33 AM

    I cannot believe that the appointment was on Facebook before either Staff or Central Council members were notified. I must say I am not the least sorry to see the back of Mr O Sullivan and hopefully he moves onto to an organisation which deserves his unique skills.

    I am super gladd that we have a new Secretary General and I wish him all the best against the Executive Commitee he will need all the luck he can get. If he thinks life was tough in the bank welcome to the real hell in the voluntray sector. Will Noel now get the justice he deserves.

  6. Anonymous1:14 PM

    Thanks to Tom Horwell Irish Red Cross board member for posting on his facebook page that a new General Secretary was appointed a day before the press release was issued or management and staff were informed, here is the link to the press release dated one day after horwells facebook post =

    What does it say about the existing board when one of it's members doesn't have the professionalism or decency to inform management and staff of this decision, but instead runs home to his computer like the town gossip to inform his flock, perhaps he merely did it to increase the amount of friends he has on facebook, or maybe King Lawlor is not the only one with an ego the size of an ambulance. Speaking of Lawlor apparently he is in line for yet another position within the ambulance service side of IRC, if this is true then the poster above who claims that the Chairman has Lawlor in his sights is surely misinformed. You couldn't make this stuff up.

  7. Anonymous12:35 AM

    I find it most unprofessional for a board member (but i am really not suprised) to totally disregard the correct policies and proceedures for announcing such news on Facebook. Such casual disregard for the policies and proceedures is how we ended up in the state we are in in the first place. The announcement was published when and where it should have been on the IRC website. For a member of any board to use the net to discuss and descision of the organisation is clearly not good practise.

    But then again true leaders lead by example and clearly this conduct speaks volumnes!!

  8. Anonymous3:01 AM

    Headline on Page 3 of Irish Times, January 22nd 2011:

    Former AIB Executive to head Irish Red Cross.

    The article leads with:

    "The Irish Red Cross, which has been dogged by allegations of poor governance and financial irregularities, has appointed a former senior banker as its new secretary general". It further states "The appointment comes amid calls for reform of the IRC following persistent concerns about governance and financial management within the organsisation". In addition the now infamous Tipperary bank account gets a mention "Of particular concern was the delay by the IRC's Tipperary branch in forwarding donations amounting to €162,960 to its Dublin headquarters. The money remained in a Tipperary bank account for more than three years". As we all now this money was only recovered after the undeclared account was discovered following a secret internal audit.

    The full Irish Times article can be read online at:

    Noel Wardick

  9. Having been a daily witness to, and often a victim of, the behaviour of the former Acting Secretary General as he caused untold but hopefully not irreparable damage to the organization, in particular the International Department, I am delighted with the news that a new SG has been appointed.
    Staff and volunteers have had a terrible time of late and I hope that the Minister and Chairman continue in the spirit of reform and further clean the decks.
    Best of luck to all volunteers and staff who will hopefully be able to get back to doing what they joined the organization for in the first place.

  10. Anonymous9:52 AM

    I just cannot believe that the Red Cross would hire a retired Banker as a Secretary General, surely the whole point of the National Society is to involve itself in Humanitarian work. Do forgive me but the experience of bankers in this country is not exactly humanitarian or even near it. The Irish Red Cross has had two Bankers before and one of them came from AIB and he was something else, the Red Cross sacked him also.

    Mr. Horwells total disregard for proper etiquette and procedures is a reflection of how the members of the Executive consider themselves as being self important. I believe Mr Horwell was part of the group that found Noel Wardick guilty of “gross misconduct”; I wonder what Mr Horwells colleagues will charge him with “gross incompetence” perhaps?

    The history of the Red Cross so far is to stop gap situations with new faces, run them for two years or three and then sack them. In the mean time the Executive members will endeavour to let the dust settle suggesting that we give the new person time to bed in whilst all things get back to normal.

    It is now time to sack the whole Council and if anyone wants to really work for the Red Cross let them apply in writing and ask the International Red Cross to interview potential candidates. No more jobs and expenses for the boys !

  11. Anonymous4:50 PM

    According to this article he is not actually a "retired banker" it says he "departed" AIB after being "sidelined" some months earlier having sent "the group's biggest division into its first loss since the bank was founded in 1966"

  12. Anonymous4:38 AM

    Surely such gross misconduct as to gossiping on facebook like a schoolgirl by a Board member is clear grounds for dismissal??

    It is clear time for a national EGM so members can voice their opinions and get rid of such self important and incompetent members from our Boards and Councils and put some hard working honourable people into the posititions who deserve it.

    These casual and unprofessional attitudes would be better suited in politics as we see with our current government!!!! Cop on and behave like a professional and for once remember the principles of this organisation!

  13. Anonymous10:54 AM

    I despair not at the appointment of Mr Forde, but at the failure to appoint a Secretary general with experience in the workings of the Red Cross Internationally. I believe one of the candidates for the post had a wealth of International and National experience, just proves that the Government and the Management don't want anyone who can speak with depth of experience. We must however give Mr Forde the opportunity to prove he can do the job. He must as a matter of urgency go to Geneva and get some induction training. To rely on the the Executive would be a indeed accepting to drink from the poison chalice.

    Many members have written to the new chairman and not a single response has been forthcoming, is this a reflection of his years working for the State where the same strategy applies or was his trip down to meet with Mr Lawlor an induction training for him on the way we do it around here!

    The great thing about political appointments is that in politics no one is safe.

  14. Anonymous2:08 AM

    Who was responsible for the appointment of the new Secretary general? Was it the same Executive whom few have confidence in? Why did the governing body whom the Executive are answerable to have no influence on the process and the end result. I am sure today's announcement that AIB is removed from the market and is only valued at 290 million will be a talking point when we now have one of those responsible for this catastrophy as an employee!

  15. Anonymous7:38 AM

    So Tom Horwell was one of those who stuck the knife in Noel Wardick's back! Well well isnt that interesting. Horwell was part of the group who sacked Wardick for telling the truth. Mr. Horwell you must be so proud of yourself. Make no mistake about it that is the reason Wardick was sacked. He told the truth and everything that has transpired since has proven beyond doubt he told the truth. I'd say Wardick cant wait to haul you and others before the Courts and finally get all this trashed out in public. Horwell you should be ashamed of yourself that you played a part in sacking an innocent man. And you of all people know Noel Wardick is telling the truth but still you caved in to the pressure of your masters on the Executive. You know if you found him innocent your days on Executive would have been numbered.

    And then Mr. Horwell you show disrespect and disdain for Irish Red Cross staff and Central Council members by announcing on your personal facebook page that IRC has hired Donal Forde as the new Secretary General. You did this more than 24 hours before the official announcement to Central Council members. As a result alot of people knew Donal Forde was appointed even before the Acting Secretary General O'Sullivan was told his contract was to be ended with immediate effect. I wonder Mr. Horwell who will investigate you for your unacceptable indiscretion and will you be found guilty of gross misconduct and fired from Executive? Will you be issuing an apology to staff and members? Of course you wont because you will be rewarded and protected for a long time because you did the 'powers that be' a big favour by finding an innocent man guilty. Well as someone else found out last Thursday to their cost what goes around comes around.

  16. Anonymous8:08 AM

    Why is it that the last eight Irish Red Cross Secretary Generals have either been sacked or left out of despair or in controversail circumstances? The one who left in 2007 and the one who left in 2009 were losses to the Irish Red Cross as were some of the others sacked. The most recent departure is to be welcomed, I think everyone agrees on that, but it doesnt hide the fact that the Irish Red Cross Board always sacrafice the Secretary General when the heat is on them. Dont be fooled Mr. Forde by Tony Lawlor and his cohorts. They see you as a real threat and from the day you start you will be in their sights. If you do not do everything in your power to remove Lawlor I can guarantee you that within 2-3 years max the Board will either fire you or you will leave out of frustration and anger. Dont make the mistake that the 2008/09 Secretary General made which was to thread sofly softly with Lawlor. Aggressively move on Lawlor with the Chairman's support, remove him and you may find your tenure is fruitful and productive. If you dont your tenure will be ruined by the same one or two people who have ruined most other SG tenures.

    And after Lawlor has been dealt with, or even before it, you will need two or three new managers as you are going nowhere with the current bunch. Oh and stop their secret perks immediately.

  17. Anonymous5:54 AM

    What happened with the Cork motions of no confidence or is this just someting else to be ignored !

  18. Anonymous12:17 AM

    Don't be too tough on Mr Horwell he was also accompanied on the execution squad by a Ms. Murphy, now there is a woman of vast knowledge and definitely someone who reflects the true meaning of being “Humanitarian” and of course knows the meaning of “Gross misconduct”.. I’m not being gender negative. It is just her statement at the last Central Council meeting that got my laughing, she said that “Transparency International”, were an irrelevant organisation or words to that effect.

    Of course this is her opinion and it is obviously not an educated one! We all know that opinions are important in the Red Cross and if you need one they can be made available to you by applying in writing to the Executive. They will then give a Mr David Curtin (PR to the Gods) a pile of money and your opinion will be sent to you by registered post. Don’t let anyone say the Red Cross does not care of course they do and your opinions will be noted and stored in a safe place for you to collect on your next visit to Merrion Square.

    I hear that one of the members of staff who has been mentioned in this Blog and fondly thought of by the Cork Area as surplus to his own requirements actually thought on Monday he was promoted in the absence of the Chairman as the new king of the castle, I guess everyone gets promoted at some stage to their own level of incompetence. No Mr Br*** you are not promoted; we have enough trouble without your assistance to mess things up more or could this be more of a mess.

  19. Anonymous4:32 AM

    With all the excitement and drama of the former Acting Secretary General's removal last week and the appointment of a new Secretary General readers shouldnt forget to read in detail the blog article below this one on the secret Irish Red Cross property portfolio. Accoring to the article the Irish Red Cross has up to 25 properties which are not declared on its books and according to its external auditors Irish Red Cross is in breach of standard accounting policy on this. Its a very well written article with very important questions asked.

    Lets hope Donal Forde launches an investigation into this and holds those responsible for this deceit accountable and removes them from the Society.

  20. Anonymous4:39 AM

    Soneone asked about the Cork Area vote of no confidence and what is happening with it. The Cork Area voted no confidence in 3 people, the ex Acting Secretary General who was dispensed with last week and two other managers. So it seems the Cork Area have been 33% successful so far! Lets hope they will be 100% successful in due course. The new Secretary General, Donal Forde, will be informed who these two remaining managers are and hopefully corrective action will be taken over time. There is a third manager who needs 'corrective action' due to the person's silence despite all the evidence around them of malpractice. The old excuse 'I was just following orders' doesnt wash anymore.

  21. Anonymous5:12 AM

    As far as I know the Cork area no confidence vote was in a number of the managers. As much as some of them deserved a vote like that the real vote of no confidecne should be in a number of the Executive Committee members. Tom Horwell deserves one for finding Noel Wardick guilty of gross misconduct as well as for leaking the name of the new Secretary General on his personal facebook page 24 hours before the offical announcement. If a staff member did that they would be suspended, investigated and sacked. Sure Wardick was fired for telling the truth! Tony Lawlor the Vice Chairman is the unassailable number one contender for a vote of no confidence. The internal investigation into his actions over the Tipperary tsunami bank account found he and others were in gross breach of organisational financial policy for many years. The report said the Tipperary branch should have been closed down!! Lawlor wouldnt be on Executive if that had happened! The report is on the Irish Red Cross website for all to read. Lawlor has refused to follow good governance practice and step down from the Board. He probably feels after 20 years as Vice Chairman he is only getting into his stride! Come on lads he is the clear number one for a vote of no confidence. Stop messing around giving votes of no confidence in the foot soldiers who although maybe not up to the job they are afraid and weak and not really that significant in the scheme of things. Go after the General and you will sort out the problems of Irish Red Cross. Show some real bottle for a change. Fianna Fail got rid of Cowen, now Irish Red Cross need rid of the Vice Chairman, the real boss. And if you do, watch the positive transformation of the Society within weeks.

    The Cork rebels voted no confidence in 3 people and one has been rightly sacraficed. The Cork boys are in a strong position as the new Secretary General is a Cork man too. So c'mon the rebels, show us what your made of and sort this organisation out for all our sakes!

  22. Anonymous2:40 AM

    Short but witty letter to the Editor in today's (Jan 27th) Irish Times. I decided to reprint here-Noel Wardick:

    From banking to charity

    Madam, The Irish Red Cross has displayed remarkable acumen in appointing a former leading AIB executive as secretary general (January 22nd). What can we expect next? Seánie Fitzpatrick as head of Concern? Eugene Sheehy or Brian Goggins to be appointed to the board of Trócaire? As an overseas agency, perhpas Goal might be a more suitable place for David Drumm-given his reluctance to spend any time in this country.-Yours etc,

    Philip O'Connor,
    Wainsfort Road,
    Dublin 6W

  23. Anonymous4:42 AM

    Another witty article, this time in today's Independent newspaper (27th Jan). I (Noel Wardick) wont reproduce it all here, just the relevant section. The article describes the fortunes of a number AIB bank senior executives since their 'departures' from the bank after its near collapse and its forced removal from the London and Irish stock exchanges. The article states:

    "...But the AIB brand is far from toxic in the recruitment world as evidenced by the appointment of Donal Ford, the former head of AIB's entire division, as secretary general of the Irish Red Cross.

    Apparently the former AIB man is wanted as the NGO tries to improve its corporate governance and financial management systems, surely areas of strength at AIB in recent years?.."

  24. Yet another weeks has passed and the Irish Red Cross continue to ignore my request for information under the Data Protection Act on the 15th November 2010.

    This indeed is a poor reflection on the Society. Who gave them an exemption which allows them to ignore the laws of this land. Hopefully a new Government or the Courts will address the issues that are reflected upon in this Blog.

  25. Anonymous12:46 AM

    Dear Red Cross Members,

    Especially those that reside in Cork. The Executive nor I could not care the least about your opinions or you miserable attempts to castigate hononourable members of the Executive or staff. Get a real life and join the St John's or Order of Malta.

  26. Anonymous4:26 AM

    There is more media coverage today, 28th January, in the Independent newspaper. Takes a few sarcastic swipes at the new Irish Red Cross Secretary General's former career. It also is critical of the Irish Red Cross financial management problems. It refers to the Tipperary tsunami bank account that was kept undeclared by the Irish Red Cross vice chairman and his colleagues in Tipperary for over 3 years. More damaging media coverage for Irish Red Cross and until Irish Red Cross holds those responsible to account these type of media articles will keep coming. As someone above said Fianna Fail got rid of Cowen. Even the Tunisians got rid of their President and the Egyptians and Yemenis are trying to get rid of their leaders. Irish Red Cross must do the same. He is only one person. There is nothing to be afraid of so just get rid of him. Its the right and honorable thing to do. He is not going to arrest you or water cannon you or send in the riot police or the army like the Tunisian President tried to do! The damage just goes on and on and on with him in place. Link for today's Independent article is:

  27. Anonymous1:24 PM

    To the one that refers to "those who reside in Cork"your attitude is akin to the mentality of the same people you are standing up for, slagging off two other charities, how charitable, what a MORON.

  28. Anonymous10:47 AM

    To the person who calle me a Moron, typical Red Cross member you have no comprehension how hard we work for you ! The Executive have not been found guilty by any court and you pick on them all the time whilst not dealing with the real issue which is we have a minority who are just trouble makers !

  29. Anonymous8:23 AM

    well did out facebook announcer get dealt with at last weeks Executive Meeting?

  30. Anonymous1:00 PM

    Interesting comment on the Irish Red Cross Facebook page (discussion forum). The person who posted it goes by the name of Henry Dunant! I decided to post it here as it raises an important point. It will be interesting to see if the Irish Red Cross responds to the questions asked-Noel Wardick.

    Henry Dunant: Dear Irish Red Cross,

    Can you please advise if the names of the members of the Central Council and Executive of the Irish Red Cross are listed publicly. Under the corporate governance section of the Irish Red Cross website the members of the Central Council and Executive do not appear to be listed. In the same section the website notes that the term of office of the central council and executive committee is one year. Can you please advise how long the members of the central council and executive committee have been in office?

    According to the recent Irish Red Cross internal report serious financial irregularites were identified. As these irregularities were associated with public financial donations can you please advise if the Central Council members are all aware of their fiduciary duties.