Thursday, March 3, 2011

Governance 'reform' at Irish Red Cross to prove ineffective in the absence of resignations and accountability

More Protests at Irish Red Cross Central Council meeting

On Saturday March 5th 2011 two long serving life members of the Irish Red Cross once again protested outside the Irish Red Cross Central Council meeting. Gerard Moyne, Donegal and Mary Cullivan, Dublin, called for the immediate removal of the Irish Red Cross Vice Chairman, Tony Lawlor and the re-instatement of the former Head of International, Noel Wardick.

In another development the new Irish Government's 'Programme for Government' contains a full commitment to tackle the problems of the Irish Red Cross. Page 58 of the document states the following:

We will initiate a detailed legal review of the basis, structures and governance of the Red Cross in Ireland to improve its functioning in the light of changing circumstances.

The Government's direct intervention is a very welcome initiative but at the same time a shameful indictment on the governance failures of the Irish Red Cross. Those responsible should do the honorable thing and resign.


On 4th March 2011 Transparency International, the global organisation that fights corruption and abuse of power, issued another letter to the Irish Red Cross calling for an independent invesigation into the Society and the re-instatement of Noel Wardick, its former Head of International. Transparency International has indicated to the Irish Red Cross that the dismissal of Noel Wardick is contrary to best practice and that reprisals for speaking the truth cannot be condoned. The Transparency International letter also requested that its previous letter of 10th December 2010 be formally issued to all Irish Red Cross Central Council members.

The link to Transparency International's latest statement on Noel Wardick and the Irish Red Cross can be found on their website at:


On the 5th March 2011 the Central Council of the Irish Red Cross will meet to continue its dialogue and discussion on a draft set of governance reform proposals. This Blog has gone on record as saying these proposals, as currently written, will fail to reform the organisation and will serve to solidify the power base of the cabal of individuals who have controlled and dominated the organisation for twenty years.

Equally, if not more importantly, those individuals responsible for unacceptable actions and behaviours over the last twenty years must be held to account and removed from office. It would be normal practice to allow these individuals the chance to resign but if they refuse they should be compulsorily removed from office. First and foremost amongst these individuals is the current Vice Chairman of the Society. His central role in the Tipperary Tsunami bank account scandal has brought great damage and shame on the organisation. His actions are unacceptable, his response since the audit discovery of the undeclared account unforgivable and his failure to resign inexcusable.

This Blog strongly advocates, in the absence of a voluntary resignation, the compulsory removal of the Vice Chairman from all office holding posts within the Irish Red Cross with immediate effect. The failure to do so will in effect condone and approve major violations of organisational finance policy and procedure. The retention of monies, with no authority to do so, for three and a half years in an undeclared bank account is a clear misuse of donor money. Should the Vice Chairman not be removed from office a clear message will be sent internally and externally that keeping an undeclared bank account for many years (until caught) and blatantly and wilfully ignoring organisational finance policy as well as withholding monies intended for the victims of disaster is not a punishable offence in the Irish Red Cross. The damage to the Irish Red Cross is and continues to be incalculable.

In relation to the proposed governance reform this Blog understands that Central Council members only received the draft Irish Red Cross Constitution on Tuesday March 1st for a meeting to be held on Saturday March 5th. This Blog also understands that the document is nearly 30 pages long. It will therefore be virtually impossible for Central Council members to review, discuss and circulate the draft constitution to their Area and Branch colleagues, something that is absolutely essential before Central Council representatives can reflect the views of their members. While the March 5th meeting is to be welcomed if its intention is to enable discussion and feedback no attempt should be made or permitted to seek approval of the draft contents until such time as all Areas and Branches have had adequate and sufficient time to arrange local meetings to discuss and review. The Irish Red Cross has a long and deep cultural aversion to genuine membership consultation. Changes to something as fundamental as the Society’s constitution must not be left in the hands of the ruling cabal.

This Blog is familiar with the proposed changes being proposed by the Governance ‘Reform’ Working Group. An examination and comment on the proposals is provided below:

1. The “Downer” Governance Report and Recommendations have NOT been accepted by Central Council as Merrion Square is now claiming. Central Council previously gave permission to the Working Group to engage in dialogue with the Irish Government and Geneva using the Downer report as a guideline for those discussions. Central Council, however, made it clear the proposals were not approved or accepted.

2. The Downer report proposes to change the name of the Central Council to General Assembly. This is simply a ‘stroke’ to remove the Society’s obligation to hold a real and proper General Assembly, open to all members, every two years. Should this proposal be accepted no proper general assembly of the Irish Red Cross will ever be held again. A General Assembly, with all members allowed attend, provides one of the greatest threats to the ruling cabal and it is something they deeply fear. It is the reason no general assembly has been held since 2005. The ruling cabal have no intention of ever facing the general membership and the change of name and the removal of the obligation to meet with general members every two years will ensure general members are further sidelined from organisational decision making. Organisational democracy within the Irish Red Cross will be further decimated.

3. The proposal to have the number of Central Council (CC) representatives from each Area determined by membership numbers in each area is a recipe for disaster, dispute and abuse of power. It also means the total number of CC Reps will change every year as the number of Reps from each Area will vary with local membership numbers. The proposed Central Council/General Assembly has no defined number of members. If an Area has more than 999 members it gets to have 4 Representatives on the CC. Therefore in theory if all 26 Areas ever reached a membership of 999 members or more there would be 104 representatives on Central Council. This proposal implies that every time membership increases the number of reps on CC will increase, something that will over time make Central Council unworkable, unwieldy and unmanageable. CC numbers will continually be fluid and unstable with representatives changing every year as membership numbers in Areas goes up and down.

4. The new Secretary General in his Sunday Times interview stated he wanted to double IRC membership from 6,000 to 12,000 in 3 years. If successful in this it will imply that over the same period Central Council numbers will grow year on year.

5. The current proposals re Area reps on Central Council will also ensure the supreme governing body of the Irish Red Cross will be totally dominated by the larger Areas at the expense of the smaller Areas. The bigger Areas, because of their bigger membership numbers, will have more Reps on Council and therefore extra voting numbers. The message is very clear: bigger is better. If big we will dominate, if small you will have little influence.

6. If the European Union operated on the above principle (point 5) countries such as Ireland would have no say in Europe, ever. The European Union was thankfully not designed on big is better. To ensure a functioning and coherent EU all 27 member states, regardless of size, have always had equal voting rights and power of veto. The Irish Red Cross proposals are the exact opposite of this. Smaller Areas will suffer, have less influence and will be dominated by the larger Areas. This is a recipe for disaster within the Irish Red Cross and smaller Areas will be further marginalised, isolated and ignored.

7. The proposals suggest that not only will Areas with bigger membership numbers dominate but that any Area with less than 50 voting members will have no representation whatsoever on Central Council. This is the equivalent of the EU saying countries like Ireland and Belgium can never vote on anything or be represented in Brussels. The proposals suggest that Areas with less than 50 voting members will be represented by a neighbouring Area! Which one if the Area is bordered by numerous other Areas?? Again this is tantamount to saying Ireland is too small so it will not be allowed attend EU meetings but that our neighbour, the UK, will represent us! The Irish Red Cross proposals are fundamentally flawed in this regard and will severely worsen an already serious organisational democracy deficit. Power will be concentrated in the hands of a few large Areas.

8. The proposals re number of Area reps on CC is virtually guaranteed to result in manipulation of membership numbers and lists over time especially where membership numbers are bordering on getting an extra Area rep onto CC or alternatively bordering on losing a CC rep. It is a near certainty that disputes over membership numbers will become a major issue within the organisation.

9. A ‘Voting’ member is any member aged 16 and over. Is this standard with the Red Cross globally?

10. There is a proposal that a new position be created called the National Director of Units (NDU) and that this person would automatically sit on Central Council/General Assembly. Firstly it’s important to note that CC has never approved the creation of the NDU position. Secondly if the position is created there is no logical reason why the post holder should sit on Central Council. Units around the country, as a component of branches, are fully and sufficiently represented at Central Council via their elected Area representative/s. Thirdly why someone involved with the ambulance service would be entitled to sit on CC without at the same time having persons specifically representing Overseas, Community Services, Restoring Family Links, International Humanitarian Law, Gender Policy etc is entirely unclear. The Irish Red Cross is not soley an ambulance/first aid organisation and preference should not be given to this activity over other components. The IRC is a humanitarian organisation, with multiple activities, of which ambulance/first aid is but one.

11. There are no proposals outlining who would appoint the NDU. There are also no proposed term limits for the post holder of the NDU. There are no proposals for automatic rotation of the NDU post. Anyone familiar with the Irish Red Cross and the NDU concept knows full well the post is being proposed as the escape route for one individual in the event he is forced off the Executive Committee.

12. There is no proposal to take into account previous service on the Executive Committee. Members should immediately consider including a proposal that all serving Executive Committee members with in excess of ten years service on Executive must step down in May 2011 and not present themselves for elected office for a minimum of three years. As far as this Blog is aware such a rule would only impact three people currently on Executive Committee and as such there would be no loss of continuity or knowledge. Space must be made for new blood and fresh ideas. In addition all talk of governance reform is meaningless when persons with between 10 and 20 years service are permitted to remain in governance positions.

13. The proposals suggest that an Executive Committee/Board of Director can serve a maximum of two three year terms and following this must step down for one year. Thereafter the person can run again and serve two more three year terms. This is minimalistic reform in the extreme, farcical in fact. If the term of office is three years then it would be normal best practice that when one must step down it is for one full term, three years. And not one third of a term as proposed by IRC. The reason of course for such farcical attempts at reform is that the Governance Reform Working Group is dominated by the likes of the Vice Chairman, who are bitterly opposed to real reform, despite their claims to the contrary.

14. The current proposals, if they were accepted, imply, as an example, that the current Vice Chairman, who has served in the position for 20 years, could serve for two more terms, six years, then step down for only 1 year and serve again for another six years giving him a total of 32 years out of 33 years on the Executive Committee. No more flagrant breach of good governance practice could there possibly be.

15. Why is there NO term limits and rotation proposed for Central Council members? It seems CC members can serve for life, again in breach of international best practice.

16. The proposals suggest that 10% of CC members can be non Irish Red Cross members appointed by a Nominations Committee. 10% of a moving total as CC numbers will change every year as membership numbers fluctuate up and down. This means that if membership numbers fall in any given year and Area reps on CC also fall that the total CC numbers will fall meaning the 10% number will also fall which will mean someone having to decide to throw off one of the 10% members. Who will decide this? And how will it be decided which 10% member is asked to step down.

17. The proposal to have CC numbers based on Area membership is a sure way route to chaos and confusion. Currently Area reps are elected for 3 years and once elected a person knows they will be on CC for that period of time. With the current proposals a CC rep once elected may be forced to step down the following year if the membership numbers in his/her Area falls. Say for example an Area has 3 reps on CC (because it has over 500 members) and then its membership numbers falls to 495 members meaning it is only entitled to have 2 Reps on CC. This implies 1 CC rep out of the 3 will have to immediately step down. How will it be decided which CC rep from the Area will depart? What if they refuse and argue one of the others should go? Who in head office is going to track Area membership numbers to ensure each Area has the correct amount of Reps?

18. The structure and functions of the Nominations Committee as proposed warrants extreme scrutiny as excessive powers are proposed to be invested in it. Members should very carefully read the small print on the proposed Nominations Committee as the reality is that this committee will become the most powerful and influential body within the Irish Red Cross. Given the ruling cabal’s history this presents another potentially very dangerous and damaging development for the Society.

19. The proposals state that the Central Council/General Assembly will evaluate Executive Committee members’ performance which is all fine in theory but no explanations are given as to how exactly this will be done. It is positive, however, that the proposals at least state that CC will have the power to remove Executive Committee members. Of course CC has always had this power, it has just failed to exercise it.

20. The proposals are very vague about the Expert Group to be established that will advise the Executive Committee and CC. There is no mention of numbers on this Group and more importantly who will appoint/select members of this Group. It is also not at all clear what is meant by ‘advise’ and the exact role and authority of such a Group. There is no reference to how long persons would serve on this group, how often they would meet and on what exactly it is they would advise on.

21. At a more micro level the proposed constitution would allow for up to 10 members to be co-opted onto an Area Committee. This is an incredibly high limit for co-option. As many Area Committees do not even have 10 elected Committee members allowing co-option of 10 members could see a situation arise where the number of co-opted members on an Area Committee is greater than the number elected. This proposal is very sinister and needs very careful and detailed consideration. The current rules allow each branch to nominate 2 representatives to serve on their respective Area Committee. If an Area is then allowed co-opt up to 10 more members then it is possible that instead of each branch being equally represented the branches from where the co-optees come from will dominate thereby creating instability and division. This will especially be the case during the election of Area Reps to Central Council. In addition the proposed number of co-optees allowed onto an Area Committee is far greater than the proposed number of co-optees, two, allowed onto the Executive Committee.

22. Why is it proposed that the Regional Director of Units and Regional Medical Director would sit on every Area Committee in his or her region and have full voting rights on each one? This is an excessive and unhealthy amount of power.

23. Why is there no rotation or maximum terms of office proposed for Central Council members, Area Committee members, Branch Officers, NDU, RDUs and ADUs?

All in all the current draft proposals represent a very bad deal for those advocating reform in the Irish Red Cross. The draft proposals need to be widely discussed and debated amongst the wider Irish Red Cross membership and not rammed through at a hastily convened Central Council meeting. This Blog proposes that a full general assembly of all members be called to discuss, debate and make proposals on the future Constitution as well as on the structure and organisation of the Irish Red Cross. The consultation process on governance reform to date has been negligible. Ordinary members and staff have been entirely excluded. Once again the broader Irish Red Cross membership has been ignored and disenfranchised. This is purposely done as the current set of proposals are specifically designed to concentrate and retain power in the hands of a few. It will be a very dark and ominous day for the Irish Red Cross should they be approved by Council.


  1. Anonymous6:56 AM

    Thats a really important article you have written Blogger. I hope as many members as possible read it. The proposed new constitution of the IRC is a power grab by the inner sanctum. It is very important all the smaller IRC Areas come together and reject these proposals. If they dont they are finished and will never have any say again.

    You are right when you say there is no maximum terms of office proposed for Area Reps, Branch officers and Central Council reps. It is precisely what the inner sanctun want. This is where they retain their power. So long as the same people stay on the Banch and Area committess then the same people elect the same reps onto CC and these same people elect the same people onto the Executive. In this way the Vice Chairman, the Galway Executive rep, the Treasurer etc are secure as their own cronies will always vote for them. If new faces appear at the branch level, area level, on CC and at ADU and RDU then the foundation of the Vice Chairman's power base will collapse. Remove the cronies and the Emperor will be shown to have no clothes.

    The proposals put forward are only a smokescreen behind which lies the inner sanctum's hope that if passed they will have secured power for years to come.

    A fantastic article blogger. Members can have no excuse and say 'we didnt know'. Its explained in the above article in a concise and understandable way.

  2. Anonymous7:24 AM

    Great idea to post on the blog as an article Gerard Moyne's letter to Central Council members. It is a very good letter, genuine and from the heart it seems.

    I cant believe Irish Red Cross are still censoring correspondence that is received in its head office in Merrion Square. Its like something out of communist Soviet Union. What a disgrace but the central council members sheeply accept letters with their names on it not being forwarded to them. Unbelievable timidness!

    The IRC is so scared of the truth. Donal Forde should be ashamed of himself for allowing this practice of witholding mail continue. What about openess and transparency for a change? Mr. Forde, what was so frigthening about Mr. Moyne's letter that you censored it and failed to post the 42 letters Mr. Moyne sent you, as per instructions from head office? Why are you people so afraid? My god you must have serious stuff to hide. Mr. Forde, you had a chance to set an example that things will change and that you are in charge. You failed. As we all know the Secretary General in the Irish Red Cross is no more than an administration secretary for Tony Lawlor. Its a real pity Mr. Forde that you witheld the letters as in one go you have dashed hope that you will do anything to change the place or challenge Lawlor and his cronies. How quickly you have been assimilated. It took the new Chairman slightly longer but not much. The Vice Chairman is smiling away at you and sitting pretty to be the new Chairman next year and then Mr. Forde your honeymoon period will be well and truly over. God help you

  3. Anonymous7:40 AM

    That recent article you wrote about the unauthorised cash withdrawals from the undeclared Tipperary Tsunami bank account was very insightful. Well spotted blogger as I had missed that particular finding in the internal investigation report. It doesnt receive much coverage in the report but its there nevertheless. So money was withdrawn from a secret undeclared account and then 'returned' following a 'misunderstanding' with the bank. And this was unauthorised withdrawl was all innocent and sweet. Of course it was, just like Santa Claus is real!

    I love reading the blog because it gives the real truth about the IRC and its leaders. I do though feel sick to the pit of my stomach when reading this truth. Keep it up blogger, keep it up

  4. Anonymous7:48 AM

    To the Kildare Area person who expressed some concern that their report on the weaknesses of the IRC Procurement Policy has appeared in the comments section of the blog.

    I can understand your concern and this would be 100% valid in a normal organisation. In the IRC your excellent and professionally written report and recommendations will be ignored. It took the ex Acting SG 3 months to reply to your letter of July 2010 asking for the IRC Procurement Policy. Why? Because there was no procurement policy. The Finance Manager cobbled one together which as Kildare Area correctly pointed out was useless. Your report was not discussed at the Central Council meeting in December 2010. It will not be discussed at the Central Council meeting on 5th March 2011. It may be discussed at the CC meeting in June 2011, over 7 months after you submitted it and nearly 11 months after your Area first wrote to head office on the matter. Its a great report you guys produced but Lawlor and co have no interest in it as they dont want reform and they certainly dont want rules and procedures that would stop their involvement in purchasing, tendering and procurement.

  5. Anonymous10:06 AM

    I wonder how the Central Council meeting went today? Any news from it yet?

    I wonder did anyone have the courage to call for the Vice Chairman's resignation? I doubt it!

    I wonder did anyone ask Tom Horwell for his resignation after he breached organisation confidentiality by announcing the appointment of the new Secretary General on his personal facebook site before the Irish Red Cross offically announced it. Remember he is one of the guys who found Noel Wardick guilty of gross misconduct because he apparently breached his confidentiality agreement!! Im sure Central Council conveniently ignored Horwell's indiscretion.

    Over the coming days we should hear back from our Central Council reps what transpired at the meeting.

  6. Anonymous11:34 PM

    Once again the Irish Red Cross's failure to implement effective governance is broadcast to the world. The new FG/Labour Programme for Government contains a clear statement of its intent to examine the Irish Red Cross and conduct a full review of its legal structure and governance (P58). The Irish Red Cross gets the honour of being the only civil society organisation in Ireland to get such 'special treatment' from the incoming Government. Thank god FF are gone and the protection to the Irish ruling elite is gone with it. Everyone is disgusted with the Irish Red Cross. The Programme for Government states:

    "We will initiate a detailed legal review of the basis, structures and governance of the Red Cross in Ireland to improve its functioning in the light of changing circumstances"

    Under the new Goverment's 'Programme for Government' Irish Red Cross will be directly subject to Parliamentary Questions and will have to answer questions directly just like a government department does. This implies IRC will be forced to tell the truth or no doubt it will quickly learn how to avoid the truth in its answers. It has done so successfully for twenty years I suppose. Still though the IRC will no longer be able to have the Dept. of Defence answer questions on its behalf. It will have to do so itself and its going to be spending alot, yes alot, of time receiving and answering these questions.The exact wording from the Government's document is:

    "We propose a radical extension of the parliamentary question system, so that it shall be a statutory duty on any body established by or under statute, or with a majority ownership or funding by the

    State, to submit to the same parliamentary questions regime as applies to Government departments. This will involve a liability to provide answers to written questions within a

    specified number of Dáil sitting days"

  7. Anonymous11:59 PM

    Have you ever done a course on the Principles? This was a question I posed recently to a Branch member of the Red Cross. A member of a cadet team which has been very successful in National First Aid competitions, whilst the answer of No was astounding the response that was to follow was even more reflective of how the Irish Red Cross has completely lost the plot. This child asked me. What are the Principles?

    I would have explained, but considered this knowledge would only highlight my anger at the fact that even the management of the Red Cross don’t have a clue what the Principles of the Red Cross are, of course this does not apply to all the Central Council members, but the subtlety of knowing and applying them are at opposite poles!

  8. Anonymous1:44 AM

    Dear Mr Wardick,

    In keeping with the Principles of the Red Cross the Central Council have unilaterally decided to do what sadly many have done before when faced with a decision to do the right thing or cower in the corner and stay silent. They have decided that they will not bring up the elephant in the room and ignore that they have committed a wrong against you. It makes them feel less guilty when they dont discuss you, pretend it never happened. They will ignore that the Vice Chairman did not ensure that branch financial returns were made and thus had no entitlement to be on Central Council. They will ignore that the Vice Chairman and others kept money in an account until they got caught. Could anyone please explain why we have a Central Council? Why not just give Tony Lawlor the keys to the Kingdom to do as he wishes? Sorry Mia Culpa, I nearly forgot, they already have!

    Dear Central Council members, we will not go away. Anyone that has a wrong committed against them must have people to fight for them and to do so until those that committed the wrong are held accountable. That day will happen.

  9. The above letter which I had hoped would be disseminated to Central Council members was as I suspected not given to them prior to the meeting last Saturday. Is it not a shame that we cannot trust the Red Cross. My letter was sat I believe at the top table with other documentation and the members of the Council were instructed that if they wished to take the correspondence they could. Out of 46 Central Council members 9 brave people took the letter addressed to them. I am sure the letter from Transparency international was one of these documents.

    So we can now justifiably say that the Central Council hold the members of this Society and others in complete contempt and are unwilling to act as our representatives. It is now time for Area Committees to ask your representatives for a copy of all documentation which was addressed for you attention at last Saturdays meeting. Obviously your representative has an obligation to bring this documentation to your attention.

    I will look forward to the opportunity to have this questioned in the Dail.

    Gerard Moyne
    Life Member Irish Red Cross

  10. Anonymous3:12 AM

    All our committees have by now elected their new central council member how many have managed to get rid of the dead wood and elect a new rep for their area??

    Things are changing guys keep up the fight

  11. Anonymous7:03 AM

    Great photo Blogger and fair play to Gerard and Mary, they are true campaigners and Irish Red Cross should be very proud to have members such as these in their ranks. It helps ease the shame of having the ruling elite guys as members.

    I have been told by my central council rep that once again no-one challenged Lawlor at the March 5th meeting for his disgraceful actions with the Tipperary bank account and his 20 years as Vice Chairman. No-one has challenged the IRC Treasurer either for his role in refusing to investigate the Tipp bank account until he was forced to by the media and politicians. The former Treasurer who stepped down a year or two ago who needs to be investigated for his role in the Pakistan blankets as per Prime Time seems to have disappeared, which in itself is a very positive development for the IRC.

    As for Horwell, of course he didnt resign! Having fired Wardick he is now in the inner circle and will be rewarded by never getting kicked out so long as he continues to do what he is told. The ruling elite will be delighted to have his breach of confidentiality indiscretion to hold over him just in case he ever thinks to challenge them. All they will have to do is threaten him with action for his indiscretion and they know he will have to stay quiet and do what he is told.

  12. Anonymous7:15 AM

    It was agreed at the Central Council meeting on 5th March that central council reps are to arrange for extensive consultations with branch and area members across the country to discuss the draft IRC Constitution and bring the feedback to the May central council meeting. All IRC members should make sure their central council reps distributes them with a copy of the draft constitution and that they arrange meetings to discuss it. Wardick did a great analysis of the draft constitution and anyone who wants to prevent Lawlor and co. from totally taking over the Society should read Wardick's article above and make sure the draft Constitution is amended left right and centre. Whatever happens we cant allow the draft constitution to be approved as is.

    By the way if Lawlor is so committed to Governance reform here is one question to keep asking him, at every meeting, at every opportunity:

    Why wont he step down from the Executive Committee and Central Council and remain off both for a minimum of five years? If he refuses to step down then everyone will know he is just bullshitting when he says he favours change. We will know for sure if he again puts his name forward for Vice Chairman in May, for the 21st year. Perhaps we should throw a party for him!! Although it wouldnt be a patch on the party that will take place the day he is kicked out of the IRC.

  13. Anonymous12:37 PM

    Where is the President of the Irish Red Cross ?

  14. Anonymous9:23 AM


  15. Anonymous3:05 PM

    Whenever it is Mr Lawlor and the rest of the star struck brigade depart it will be a great day for the Irish Red Cross. We must not forget Ms Callan, infamous for her "I know nothing", display on "Prime Time". Her like should take the trophies which they named after themselves and melt them down and make a real trophy in the name of the Red Cross. What sort of ego does one require to name a national trophy after oneself?? Pathetic or what.

  16. Anonymous3:10 PM

    Dear Mr Wardick,

    I think I might donate a trophy to the Red Cross and name after you, perhaps with the inscription
    "The man who had the balls to take on Anthony Lawlor", perhaps have the President award it to the person who does selfless acts of Humanity, this would rule out nearly all the Cenrtal Council members.

  17. Anonymous6:45 AM

    Is the comment above true about the Galway Central Council rep and Executive Committee member? Would be good if someone could confirm for readers of this blog.

    If the person is gone it would be great news and a major step in the right direction for the Irish Red Cross. Lawlor's inner circle would be getting smaller and smaller and weaker and weaker. The Galway Area CC rep has been in his position on CC and Executive Committee for more than twenty years. What a joke! What a breach of good governance practice. No wonder there is civil war in the Irish Red Cross Galway Area. Hopefully he is gone and replaced by someone who will tell Lawlor he needs to follow suit and go, and go for good.

  18. Anonymous6:55 AM

    Has the Tipperary Area voted for their Central Council rep yet? If they have voted once again for Tony Lawlor they should hang their heads in shame. If they havent voted yet they have a great opportunity to do something really very important for the Irish Red Cross and vote someone else onto to Central Council and once and for all remove Lawlor from his throne. Tipperay Area, please do the right and honorable thing.

  19. Anonymous7:18 AM

    Very tragic situation with the tsunami in Japan. If the Irish Red Cross decides to accept donations the following must apply:

    1. Under no circumstances can Tony Lawlor be allowed open another tsunami account. He kept the last one undeclared from head office for over 3 years until a secret internal audit caught him and forced him to return the money.

    2. Tony Lawlor should not be entitled to have any role involving money or funds donated to the Irish Red Cross ever again.

    3. The people of Tipperary if they are giving money to the Irish Red Cross for overseas appeals should give it directly to the Irish Red Cross head office and not give a penny to the Tipperary branch in the hope that they pass it on to the disaster zone. If Lawlor is removed from the branch then no problem giving money to the branch but until then give it to head office.

    4. Irish people gave Euro 3.6 million for Haiti last year. Irish Red Cross re-directed over Euro 600,000 to its domestic account to cover up its domestic expenditures and its big losses. Until this Euro 600,000 is returned to the Haiti fund Irish people should consider whether it is wise to give any money to the Irish Red Cross as its highly possible your donation for Japan will be used to pay for expenses in Ireland such as the legal expenses Irish Red Cross is incurring as a result of wrongfully firing Noel Wardick and now trying to defend themselves against the case he is taking against the Society.

  20. Anonymous8:51 AM

    In relation to the Galway Area yes it is very true we have a new rep and let me tell you all he is an outstanding candidate to represent the true members on the ground as he is one himself.

    It just takes a little determination and you will get the result you want. Now we may be represented honourably and have a voice for all members equally.

    Keep on the push guys its worth the effort.

  21. Anonymous1:33 PM

    As a life long member and advocate of all the work that is carried out by the Red Cross outside Ireland I would have grave reservations in giving a single penny to the Irish Red Cross.

    They have been messing with overseas funds for over thirty years. In fact they have been messing with money since CJ Hughey put State funds through them into accounts in Northern Ireland pre 1971.

    Till Lawlor, Callan, Horwell, Murphy and Noonan go to name but a few the Irish Red Cross will remain a haven for acts of no good.

  22. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Confirmation. Yes the Galway Area has spoken and has ended the over long career of the last rep.

    Despite many attempts and dealings on the part of the obvious thankfully a new appointee has secured his place on the Central Council now giving a true representation to the real members of the Society.

  23. I spoke today to a long standing member of the Red Cross and he has yet to see or here of a single document sent to each Central Council or indeed a report from the Council Rep. to the Area Committee. Their Branch does not even get notices of agendas for meetings apart from a text to say its on shoud we name and shame this Area. That's for another day !

    Will Areas and Branches please ask your Central Council Representatives for a copy of my letter and Noel Wardicks letters and Transparency Internationals letters. Why are you the members not being informed by your representatives. Why are they getting away with not keeping you informed, who died and made them kings or Queens.

    You have the right to know what is going on
    ASK ! If your Central Council Representative is not showing you correspondence, sack them and get someone who will.

  24. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Congrats to the Newly Elected Central Council Rep for the Galway area.Hopefully he is a REFORMIST and forward looking in outlook.You join a small but Growing band of Reformers within the IRC.

  25. Anonymous5:18 AM

    Well done to the newly elected Galway rep. you don't have any boots to fill cos your former rep did nothing for the organisation but for the inner circle. Opening doors for his select few to jump the ladder to the special jobs despite ever having put in a slight bit of work on the ground jumping past many experienced members in Galway, giving her posts in HQ despite the fact she had no qualifications to hold any post or officership but all he had to do was fill in the R.E.A.R. form and say the magic word. But i see all his hard work back fired as his little side kick has dropped him and now the Galway area have dropped him too . Justice or what

  26. If the new Galway Representative wishes to call me please feel free to email me at

    I have a lot of home truths which I am sure you have no clue about. I would be delighted to let your Area know how the members of the Executive have manipulated the Society and the effects it has had on the services we could have offered and do not, and the services that were withdrawn because it did not fit with the EGO Machine of Units. You cannot award a trophy for doing acts of humanity !
    If you are truly interested in reform then become educted listen and make you rown mind up.

    Don't go down the road which has prevailed which is if the Executive want your opinion they will write to you and give it to you.

  27. Anonymous1:40 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  28. Anonymous5:06 AM


  29. Anonymous5:11 AM

    Did people see RTE's Prime Time last night, 15th March? Noel Wardick was back on!!! Great to see him doing so well and looking fine and healthy. Obviously his disgraceful treatment at the hands of the inner sanctum hasnt unduly impacted him. Thank god for viewers sake that the Irish Red Cross woman spokesperson who humiliated herself on Prime Time last August didnt make another appearance :-)!!!

    For those who didnt see it Noel was on as an International Aid Advisor commenting on the humanitarian disaster in Japan. Once again Noel was articulate, knowledgeable and professional.

    I am a member of Irish Red Cross for donkey years and its so outrageous that the leadership of the IRC would fire someone of Noel's calibre and professionalism. Everyone sees through the IRC and their shenanigans. Even RTE believe Noel told the truth and was unfairly dismissed. If they thought otherwise they would never invite him onto the Prime Time program.

    The likes of Lawlor, Horwell, Murphy, Noonan, O' Callaghan and that other fella, Lawlor's doctor side kick, the IRC medical officer, must feel like right eejits when they see their decision to sack Wardick totally dismissed and ignored by everyone as nothing more than revenge on an honest hard working individual who told the truth. Wait until Wardick's barrister rips them apart when they are compelled to stand as 'witnesses' at his unfair dismissal hearing.

    So it looks like Noel is doing well. This is the second time in recent times he has been consulted for his views. The Sunday Independent magazine interviewed him and former Minister Conor Lenihan a couple of weeks ago about the challenges of working and living overseas in third world countries. It was another excellent interview by Noel.

    Keep it up Noel. The more you do the more pathetic the inner sanctum of the Irish Red Cross look. All of them are now a mere laughing stock.

    The link to the Prime Time program is:

  30. Anonymous5:33 AM

    What a huge victory in Galway!!! Well done to everyone involved. The removal of that Central Council and Executive Committee rep is a great development for the Irish Red Cross and will send shivers down the backs of the outdated and dying breed of the inner sanctum such as Lawlor, Noonan and Horwell. They know for sure that there are sights pointing right at their foreheads and their removal from the Society, or at least the Executive is a primary objective of a growing number of people. Watch them circle the wagons and fight like cornered animals for their survival. In doing so they will continue to disgrace themselves which will further hasten their departure.

    I hear through the grapevine that one or two other Areas have new CC reps who are eager and keen to sort out the Society. Lets hope so. All that is required is a few dedicated and determined individuals and with time Lawlor and his cronies will crumble and be sent packing. Lawlor is no longer seen as invincible and untouchable. Wardick has ensured to that.

    What's happened to the new Chairman? Does he exist? Or as someone says has he bowed to King Lawlor and accepted Antonio as the boss? Thats what I'm hearing. Very sad. If true it means Forde is already in trouble and vulnerable.

  31. Anonymous8:42 AM

    Very selective memory you seem to have. The Galway Rep has done a lot of good over the years, as in assisting in getting ambulances for the Galway city and county to name but some. He stepped down for his own reasons. And his personal life should be left personal. What anyone does on national commitee fair enough but leave the people's private lives alone. You should all look in the mirror, none of us are perfect and hind sight is a great thing. We see the way it should have been done. People in glass houses shouldnt throw stones.... GIRL POWER ... Thought equality ruled

  32. Anonymous11:31 AM

    As a life long donor to the Irish Red Cross I am shocked and disgusted by the personal attacks on individuals on these comments. Everyone may not agree with each others point of view while in uniform but peoples personal lives should be kept out of it. To the people leaving comments on members personal lives SHAME ON YOU. This blog started out looking for governance reform and now has ended up as a mud slinging site, a forum for small minded people to feel they are justified in personally attacking other people/ members because the are not big enough to stand up and say these nasty comments to peoples faces. The more I read the sicker it gets.

  33. Anonymous1:05 PM

    "Remembering the Irish Red Cross in your Will means we can continue responding to international emergencies and providing much needed services to local communities throughout Ireland" an extract from the Irish Red cross website.

    You would have to be senile to leave even a brush to the Irish Red Cross look of the mess they have made of the Jane Willams fund and the Kessel Estate. Then look at all the properties they have hidden from the view of the Central Council and the membership, which is not that hard as they are mostly like the puppets in spitting image. Their lips only move to let air in.

    Tell us more how did yer man in Galway get dumped was it by text or worse?

  34. Anonymous4:38 PM

    Yes indeed Noel Wardick, once again, presented himself in a articulate and professional manner on Prime Time.
    Apart from the horrendous subject matter (Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear problems) what immediately struck me is the fact that Noel Wardick's opinion and views were sought by the leading current affairs programme in the country. The producers of this same programme are not only aware that Noel was dismissed for "gross misconduct" by the Irish Red Cross but they evidently investigated the case for one of their previous reports earlier this year.
    So for them to request Noel's opinion, to go out across the nation last night, clearly demonstrates that they for one fully realise that the case against Noel was a thorough disgrace. On the same programme a Japanese Red Cross representative managed to make themselves available (who themselves are in the midst of their nations worst disaster since WW2). Where are the Irish Red Cross? Probably busy suing someone.
    I am delighted too to read of the developments in Galway as referenced above. I genuinely believe this is a time for hope for the Irish Red Cross. Things are slowly but surely happening. With people like Wardick and many a number before who have sacrificed careers for the sake of what is right for the IRC and the countless volunteers and staff who truly believe in the Red Cross Movement along with a new government who are making the right noises (so far) about IRC reform, I do hope change is on the horizon.
    Either way as the commenter above refers, when individuals are called as witnesses in Noel Wardick's unfair dismissal case they will be there in the stand as individuals, no cosy central council cloak of protection to hide behind. Noel may have lost his career with the IRC but at least an opportunity for questions and accountability will arise as a result.
    Every cloud.....

  35. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Well, they could always drag in the ex banker now that would make for an interesting interview !

    Makes you sick when the only organisation working in Japan is the Red Cross and the National broadcaster will not trust the National Society to have something relevant to say. they could alsways have Sheila Callan who knows nothing, tell us that the Secretary General is out of the Country...

  36. Anonymous3:41 AM

    Dear Readers,

    Thank you for recent comments. It is very encouraging that so much debate and discussion occurs on the Blog. It is very much intended for that purpose and hopefully with time change and fundamental reform will occur at the Irish Red Cross. For this to happen, however, a small number of individuals need to be removed from the Society and held accountable for their highly questionable and unacceptable past actions. In the absence of their removal necessary reform will be twarted at every turn.

    In posting comments, however, I would ask people to always maintain a dignified and respectful approach. While I can understand the deep anger and frustration that many honest and hard working voluteers and staff feel, and rightly feel given what has happened, it is extremely important that comments remain measured, truthful and appropriate. Unnecessary venting and personal attacks will not be permitted and comments of this nature will be deleted.

    Having examined recent comments I have deleted one. While I do not understand the exact situation that has prevailed in Galway or know any of the personalities involved or understand various references and inneuendo in above comments I have nevertheless removed one of them. The recent developments in Galway must be seen as extremely positive and a huge step in the right direction. Well done to all invovled. Regardless of good work done or not by the outgoing CC rep, it is wrong and in breach of good practice for any individual to serve on an organisation's governing body for twenty years. As such change was necessary for a number of reasons. Congratulations to the Galway Area.

    While the Galway Area development is positive there was a major set back in Cork where the CC Rep there was voted off CC following a campaign to remove him. For those that know the outgoing CC rep they will know that he has been a stalwart campaigner for change and reform at the IRC. He was vigorous, fearless and robust in his questioning of the Society at the December 2010 CC meeting. He has been a marked man since then (and before probably). I hope he will, however, continue to campaign and demand reform, as he is entitled to do as a Red Cross member. What was demonstrated in Cork is that the ruling elite will fight tooth and nail to maintain their power. Those Reformists amongst must do the same and more to end it.

    The new Irish Government has committed to reforming the Irish Red Cross. I encourage IRC members all over Ireland to contact their local Fine Gael and Labour TDs and ask them to ensure this committment is honoured.

    Noel Wardick

  37. Anonymous10:09 AM

    Very appropriate response above Noel. Timely reminder of the purpose of the blog and helpful in steering the tone of the blog back on track. It was only one or two comments going wayward but they can unfortunately set the wrong tone.

    Re Cork: Very disappointing but I hope this development does not demotivate the many who are seeking reform at the IRC.

  38. Anonymous5:17 AM

    First of all well done to Noel for another fine performance on Prime Time. Im glad RTE chose Noel and not an Irish Red Cross spokesperson. You can believe and trust Noel.

    The comment above about Legacies and Wills caught my attention. I would fully agree that nobody in their right mind should leave money to the Irish Red Cross when they have so badly misused previous legacies and wills.

    Irish Red Cross has somewhere between 30 and 50 properties not declared and not recorded on its books. The Society is in breach of Standard Accounting procedure as laid down by the accounting profession. This is not an opinion. It is a stated written fact by the IRC external auditors. It is written by them into the audited accounts for the last number of years. Imagine that despite the external auditors repeatedly saying the Irish Red cross is breaking financial regulations that not one single Central Council member or Executive Committee member has questioned this. Not one has demanded that the list of properties and their uses be immediately sent to all Central Council members. This is a total failure of individual and collective responsibility. It is negligent and cowardly. It is why the Executive Committee and probably the Central Council is not fit for purpose. These people have duties as board members and they have failed. A full independent investigation into the property scandal is urgently required. Who is benefiting from this secrecy and breaking of the regulations??? Ask the questions, dig deep.

    Ted Noonan, the Irish Red Cross Treasurer, should be sacked straight away for his failure to address this. Des Kavanagh, form Treasurer, who still sits on Central Council (but never turns up at meetings anymore. Mind you this is a good thing) should be expelled from the Central Council for his role in keeping these properties secret and hidden from the Society's accounts. And of course the infamous Pakistan blankets.

    Its no wonder when you have Treasurers like these guys that Lawlor and others in the Tipperary branch not only get away with misusing donor money but remain unpunished.

    The Irish Red Cross has sullied and betrayed the memory of those wonderful people and their families who so kindly donated and left their properties to the Irish Red Cross. Noonan, Kavanagh, Lawlor and your pawns, Horwell, Murphy etc, you should hang your heads in shame.

  39. Anonymous3:37 AM

    It is amazing what we think we know, but do not know. It is amazing what we say we know, but do not know. It is amazing what we presume we know, but do not know. It is amazing who we think we know, but do not know.

  40. Anonymous3:11 PM

    Wise is man that knows, and knows what he knows, foolish is the man that knows, but does not know that he knows.

    We all consider ourselves beyond the capacity of the actions of the bods on the Executive of the Irish Red Cross. But presume nothing. The Stanford experiment in 1971 proved that it is possible for anyone to act in a manner which is outside the norm.

    So when I look at the actions of the Central Council I think of a bunch of lemmings who will all do what they are expected to do in a pack they act like each other as no one wants to act outside the pack mentality, thus they each get the protection that is expected of a pack out of control.

  41. Anonymous8:14 AM

    I am a member of the Irish Red Cross and I have not heard anything from anybody in our Area about the draft new Irish Red Cross Constitution. I heard the Central Council is supposed to vote on this at their May meeting. How is this possible when members of the Society havent even been consulted? What is the Chairman and the Secretary General doing about this? Nothing it seems to me. Why are they not going around the country to different branches and areas explaining the proposed new Constitution and making themselves available for questions? Do we even have a Chairman? At least with David Andrews we saw him regularly on the tele. The new guy has just evaporated.

    Noel's article on the draft Constitution is excellent and anyone who reads it will know to instruct their Central Council member to vote against its acceptance. Lawlor, Noonan and Horwell want this passed so that in itself is sufficient reason to know its very bad for the Irish Red Cross and should be rejected.

  42. Anonymous8:23 AM

    An Executive Committee member told me the whiz kids on Executive are worried sick Noel Wardick is going to win his court case and be reinstated back to his position. Even though his case wont be heard until next year if he wins not only will he be back working in his old job Irish Red Cross will have to pay him backdated salary from the day he was fired up to the day he re-starts work with the Irish Red Cross, possibly one and a half years salary.

    The reason they are so worried is that the court recently ruled in such a manner for an AIB employee who was fired. He is now back working at AIB with a handy back pay package in his pocket. The Court agreed the AIB guy had committed a disciplinary offence and should have been punished. But they also decided that firing him was inappropriate and too severe. Given that Wardick was fired for telling the truth I'd say there is every chance he will get his job back along with 18 months or more back dated salary. If that happens the geniuses on the Executive who fired him should all be forced to step down immediately but not before they form a guard of honour for Wardick and applaud him as he walks back through the door of Merrion Square!

  43. Anonymous11:05 AM

    Bottom line is each branch elects their Area Delegate, Areas vote for their rep to Central Council, who in turn elect the Executive. I'm not on either but surely its a secret ballot. Therefore the members themselves elect the Executive & Council, whos at fault in all this??

    In 2011, all the Reps to central council (bar 1 or 2) have been re-elected, what does that say?

    Question for readers:


    In my opinion, if the areas/ branches of the Irish Red Cross have not discussed these proposals then council or executive should not have the right to approve it and they should be made to stall the process until this has been completed. Any of the Reps who have not brought this information back to their Area Committee should be told to leave central council. We can all knock the "ruling elite" but at the end of the day we have had a hand in electing them year after year.

  44. Anonymous8:13 AM

    The silence to the last comment is deafening