Thursday, April 21, 2011

Minister for Justice and Defence indicates his preparedness to introduce mandatory breaks in service for members of the Irish Red Cross board

Minister for Justice and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, has indicated his preparedness to introduce mandatory breaks in service for members of the Irish Red Cross board following extensive questioning in parliament.

On Tuesday 19th April 2011 politicians from three political groupings (Finian Mc Grath-The Independent Group, Aodhán O’ Riordáin-Labour and Dara Calleary-Fianna Fáil) submitted a total of nine parliamentary questions to the Minister concerning the ongoing difficulties at the Irish Red Cross. It is indicative of the scale of the continuing problems at the Society and its refusal to hold those responsible to account that so many questions were asked. The ongoing presence of a number of individuals on the board of the Irish Red Cross and the refusal to resign despite their role in matters of serious public concern hangs over the Society like a very dark and ominous cloud.

A number of the answers provided by the new Minister are positive and give reason to be cautiously optimistic that certain reforms will be demanded and insisted upon by the government. As an example, in response to a question by Deputy Finian Mc Grath-Independent, expressing concern at the length of time certain individuals have served on the board of the Irish Red Cross, the Minister replied:

My Department is engaged in consultations with the Office of the Attorney General on the extent of changes that can be made to the Irish Red Cross order 1939. Following receipt of legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General, which is expected in the coming weeks, I will review the legislative changes that are proposed and consider bringing them to Government for approval. Amongst the issues that will be considered will be the question of introducing mandatory breaks in service.

The Minister further stated:

Finally it is important to note that whatever changes may be made to the 1939 Order, a comprehensive review of all Red Cross legislation, and in particular the primary legislation, will be commenced by my Department as a matter of priority.

The other key issues raised by the three politicians and addressed in the Minister’s replies were:

• The appointment of a new government nominee to the Central Council following the resignation of a serving member for personal reasons. This Blog advocates for the appointment of someone with courage, conviction and integrity as well as being a person who will be prepared to demand resignations when and where they are warranted.
• The Minister committed to ‘carrying out a comprehensive review of the legislation governing the operation of the Society’. What is not clear, however, is where the draft Constitution of the Irish Red Cross, which is before the next Central Council meeting in May, fits into this. The Minister only indicated that the proposed reforms submitted by the Irish Red Cross would ‘be considered as part of the review of legislation’. This would imply that even if the fundamentally flawed draft Constitution is approved by the Central Council next month the Minister may in fact choose to ignore it as he brings in new legislation. Should he choose to set aside the draft Irish Red Cross Constitution it would be a very welcome development as members of the Society have not been consulted and 99% of the 6,000 members have never seen or been issued with a copy of the draft proposals. As such the Central Council has no mandate to vote on their behalf on such a critically important matter.
• The Minister refused to be drawn on Deputy Mc Grath’s question regarding Transparency International’s calls for an independent investigation into the Irish Red Cross and the re-instatement of Noel Wardick as Head of the International Department. The Minister is, however, incorrect when he says the Government cannot intervene in the day to day affairs of the Irish Red Cross. The legislation currently in place specifically allows for this and the civil servants who draft answers to parliamentary questions have consistently erred on this issue.
• The failure to-date by the Irish Red Cross to produce its 2009 Annual Report and its 2010 Annual Report was formally raised in one of the questions. The Minister was asked could he be assured that the €2 million of tax payers’ money given to the Irish Red Cross in this period was spent effectively and efficiently. The Minister was asked to explain the delay in producing the two annual reports and when they could be expected.
• The Minister was also asked if it was a prudent use of Irish tax payers money to give €951,000 to the Irish Red Cross in 2011 given the extensive revelations in the media during 2010 regarding financial irregularities. The answers provided by the Minister to some of these questions are standard civil servant drafted ‘non-answers’ and were generally unsatisfactory. The Minister should be reminded that ‘independent auditors’ gave the thumbs up to Anglo Irish Bank, AIB, Bank of Ireland, Irish Nationwide, Enron and Lehman Brothers and each and every one of these went bankrupt. Surely Mr. Shatter is not going to depend on ‘independent auditors’ to assure him that Irish tax payer money has been properly spent at the Irish Red Cross?

What remains without question one of the most salient features of the crisis at the Irish Red Cross is the complete absence of shame, embarrassment or accountability amongst those who maintain power at the Society. The fact that their time in office has witnessed a damning internal investigation and report into the undeclared Tipperary tsunami bank account, an RTE Prime Time investigation in which the Society humiliated itself, non-stop media coverage and damaging but accurate revelations, endless parliamentary questions in Dail Eireann, staff departures and dismissals, the resignation of an Executive Committee Honorary Secretary, official complaints to government Ministers, calls for independent investigations by Fine Gael, Labour, Independents and Transparency International, breaches of standard accounting procedures and financial irregularities over many years and now the active involvement of the Attorney General’s office, appears to be of no apparent concern.

Those in power at the Irish Red Cross are in total denial. They refuse to accept any responsibility and they alone believe none of this is their fault. As with Irish banks the Irish Red Cross will remain discredited and in turmoil until these board members are forced to resign. The Minister of Finance has demanded it of the banks. The Minister for Justice and Defence should demand it of the Irish Red Cross. Mr. Shatter has the legal and moral authority to do so.

It is not dissent that is dangerous, it is unchallenged consensus-Unknown


The full text of all nine parliamentary questions and the Minister’s replies are below:

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2011-04-19.1163.0&s=Irish+Red+Cross#g1181.0.r



Department of Justice, Equality and Defence
Irish Red Cross
All Written Answers on 19 Apr 2011
8:00 pm

Finian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
Question 246: To ask the Minister for Defence, in view of his commitment to good corporate governance practice, if he has concerns that the executive committee and the central council of the Irish Red Cross has a number of members who have served continually on the board for between ten and 20 years, in breach of internationally recognised good governance practice, including that of the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8251/11]

Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael):
My Department is engaged in consultations with the Office of the Attorney General on the extent of changes that can be made to the Irish Red Cross Order 1939. Following receipt of legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General, which is expected in the coming weeks, I will review the legislative changes that are proposed and consider bringing them to Government for approval. Amongst the issues that will be considered will be the question of introducing mandatory breaks in service.

Finian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
Question 247: To ask the Minister for Defence if the Irish Red Cross intends to carry out an independent investigation into claims made by the IRC whistleblower and pending the outcome of that investigation to re-instate the sacked former head of the international department as per calls made by Transparency International - Ireland in December 2010 and again in March 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8252/11]

Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael):
The Irish Red Cross Society is an independent statute based charitable organisation with full power to manage and administer its affairs through its governing body, the Central Council. The Irish Red Cross Order 1939, which established the Society in Ireland, does not make any provision for the Government to intervene in the day to day administration of the Society. Furthermore, there is an obligation on Governments to protect the independence of national Red Cross organisations. The dismissal of the employee in question is an internal disciplinary matter for the Society. Accordingly, disciplinary issues that arise within the Society must be addressed in the context of a normal employer/employee relationship without interference by Government. All parties to the disciplinary action are of course entitled to seek independent legal advice.

Finian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
Question 248: To ask the Minister for Defence when he expects to be in a position to appoint a replacement to the central council of the Irish Red Cross following the recent resignation of one of its Government nominated members for personal reasons; and the way he intends to choose the replacement. [8253/11]

Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael):
My Department was recently informed of the resignation, for personal reasons, of one of the previous Government’s nominees on the Central Council of the Society. When I have had an opportunity to consider how this vacancy might be filled, I will bring a Memorandum to Government for decision.

Finian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
Question 249: To ask the Minister for Defence his plans to put aside the governance reform proposals submitted by the Irish Red Cross last year pending the outcome of the detailed legal review of the governance and structures of the IRC as per the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8254/11]

Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael):
As the legislation that governs the Irish Red Cross Society substantially dates back to the pre World War II era, I believe it is now opportune to carry out a comprehensive review of the legislation governing the operation of the Society. The recommendations of the Working Group on Governance Reform will be considered as part of the review of the legislation governing the Irish Red Cross Society.

Finian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
Question 250: To ask the Minister for Defence if, in the absence to date of the production and publication by the Irish Red Cross of a 2009 annual report or a 2010 annual report, he will assure Dáil Éireann that he is satisfied that the nearly €2 million of taxpayers’ money given by him to the Irish Red Cross in 2009 and 2010 has been effectively and efficiently spent; if he will inform Dáil Éireann when the 2009 and the 2010 IRC annual reports may be expected; and the reason for the delay in producing same. [8255/11]

Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael):
I am satisfied that the money granted to the Irish Red Cross Society in 2009 and 2010which covers the administration of the Irish Society as well as an annual contribution from Ireland to the International Committee of the Red Cross, has been properly spent. The 2009 Accounts have been independently audited and published. I understand that the 2010 Accounts are on schedule for finalisation and publication shortly. As regards the Annual Reports covering 2009 and 2010, I understand that one composite report, covering both years, will be published in the next few months. The delay in publication can be partially attributed to the changes in senior personnel that have taken place in recent months.

Finian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
Question 251: To ask the Minister for Defence if he has approved annual grant-in-aid funding for 2011 to the Irish Red Cross and the amount of same; his views on whether this is a prudent use of taxpayers’ money in view of the extensive revelations in the media (details supplied) during 2010 regarding financial issues within the Irish Red Cross. [8256/11]

Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael):
The Irish Red Cross Society is supported by an annual grant from the Department of Defence vote. The grant is paid in quarterly amounts to the Society. The total grant for 2011 is set at €951,000 and was approved as part of the 2011 Estimates process. The grant makes an important contribution towards the administration and running costs of the Irish Society. Provision is made in each year’s grant for the Government’s annual contribution to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The contribution is paid by the Society on behalf of the Government. An amount of €130,000 is included in the total grant for this purpose.

Finian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
Question 252: To ask the Minister for Defence the actions he has taken to date to carry out a detailed legal review of the governance and structures of the Irish Red Cross as per the commitment given in the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8257/11]

Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael):
The Programme for Government provides for the initiation of 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.
As the legislation that governs the Irish Red Cross Society substantially dates back to the pre World War II era, I believe it is now opportune to carry out a comprehensive review of the legislation governing the operation of the Society. In 2007 a resolution was passed by the Council of Delegates of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) which urged all National Societies to examine and update their Statutes - the rules of the National Societies - and the related legal texts. Arising from this, governance reform has been undertaken by many Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world in accordance with the “Guidance for National Society Statutes” and relevant International Conference resolutions.
I am aware that a Working Group to propose changes in the governance of the Society was established by the Irish Red Cross in 2008. The Chairman of the Working Group presented the findings, which included changes recommended by the International Federation, to the Central Council of the Irish Red Cross Society at a meeting held in November 2009. The Working Group’s report was then submitted to the Department of Defence early last year.
Following the Department’s review of these proposals and the related legislation, a draft Order that would amend the Irish Red Cross Order 1939 was submitted to the Office of the Attorney General. The 1939 Order sets out the basis upon which the Society is governed and was made pursuant to the Red Cross Act 1938. Discussions with the Office of the Attorney General on the extent of changes that can be made to the 1939 Order are continuing. Following receipt of legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General, which is expected in the coming weeks, I will review the legislative changes that are proposed and consider bringing them to Government for approval.
Finally, it is important to note that whatever changes may be made to the 1939 Order, a comprehensive review of all Red Cross legislation, and in particular the primary legislation, will be commenced by my Department as a matter of priority. In this regard, I believe that an overriding principle should be to ensure that whatever legislative changes are made have the full support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
Question 253: To ask the Minister for Defence the progress made in initiating a detailed review of the basis, structures and governance of the Irish Red Cross, as outlined in the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8440/11]

Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael):
The Programme for Government provides for the initiation of 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.
As the legislation that governs the Irish Red Cross Society substantially dates back to the pre World War II era, I believe it is now opportune to carry out a comprehensive review of the legislation governing the operation of the Society. In 2007 a resolution was passed by the Council of Delegates of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) which urged all National Societies to examine and update their Statutes - the rules of the National Societies - and the related legal texts. Arising from this, governance reform has been undertaken by many Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world in accordance with the “Guidance for National Society Statutes” and relevant International Conference resolutions.
I am aware that a Working Group to propose changes in the governance of the Society was established by the Irish Red Cross in 2008. The Chairman of the Working Group presented the findings, which included changes recommended by the International Federation, to the Central Council of the Irish Red Cross Society at a meeting held in November 2009. The Working Group’s report was then submitted to the Department of Defence early last year.
Following the Department’s review of these proposals and the related legislation, a draft Order that would amend the Irish Red Cross Order 1939 was submitted to the Office of the Attorney General. The 1939 Order sets out the basis upon which the Society is governed and was made pursuant to the Red Cross Act 1938. Discussions with the Office of the Attorney General on the extent of changes that can be made to the 1939 Order are continuing. Following receipt of legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General, which is expected in the coming weeks, I will review the legislative changes that are proposed and consider bringing them to Government for approval.
Finally, it is important to note that whatever changes may be made to the 1939 Order, a comprehensive review of all Red Cross legislation, and in particular the primary legislation, will be commenced by my Department as a matter of priority. In this regard, I believe that an overriding principle should be to ensure that whatever legislative changes are made have the full support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Dara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
Question 254: To ask the Minister for Defence if he will elaborate on the commitment in the programme for Government to initiate a detailed legal review of the basis, structures and governance of the Red Cross here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8408/11]

Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael):
The Programme for Government provides for the initiation of 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. As the legislation that governs the Irish Red Cross Society substantially dates back to the pre World War II era, I believe it is now opportune to carry out a comprehensive review of the legislation governing the operation of the Society.
In 2007 a resolution was passed by the Council of Delegates of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) which urged all National Societies to examine and update their Statutes - the rules of the National Societies - and the related legal texts. Arising from this, governance reform has been undertaken by many Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world in accordance with the “Guidance for National Society Statutes” and relevant International Conference resolutions.
I am aware that a Working Group to propose changes in the governance of the Society was established by the Irish Red Cross in 2008. The Chairman of the Working Group presented the findings, which included changes recommended by the International Federation, to the Central Council of the Irish Red Cross Society at a meeting held in November 2009. The Working Group’s report was then submitted to the Department of Defence early last year.
Following the Department’s review of these proposals and the related legislation, a draft Order that would amend the Irish Red Cross Order 1939 was submitted to the Office of the Attorney General. The 1939 Order sets out the basis upon which the Society is governed and was made pursuant to the Red Cross Act 1938. Discussions with the Office of the Attorney General on the extent of changes that can be made to the 1939 Order are continuing. Following receipt of legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General, which is expected in the coming weeks, I will review the legislative changes that are proposed and consider bringing them to Government for approval.
Finally, it is important to note that whatever changes may be made to the 1939 Order, a comprehensive review of all Red Cross legislation, and in particular the primary legislation, will be commenced by my Department as a matter of priority. In this regard, I believe that an overriding principle should be to ensure that whatever legislative changes are made have the full support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

9 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:48 AM

    Thanks Blogger for letting us know about the questions in the Dail. The Blog is the only true way to know about what is happening within the Irish Red Cross so keep it going. No information comes from the secretive and closed Merrion Square and they have censored their Facebook page and removed the discussion section so only a select few can comment. Freedom of speech eat your heart out!!

    I totally agree with you Blogger that unless there is permanent removal of certain Executive Committee members then nothing will change in the Irish Red Cross. My prediction if the tsunami bank account man and one or two others are not forced to resign then by May next year Tony Lawlor will be the Chairman. If he is prevented from becoming the Chairman due to the publicity it might cause he will ensure one of his cronies is Chairman. This chosen one will then do what he or she is told. Within 12 months of that Donal Forde will either be fired as Secretary General or he will resign as he encounters endless resistance to his attempts at reform.

    I wonder do Paddy Powers take bets on such things?!

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  2. Anonymous2:49 PM

    We now approach Easter Monday and the commemoration of the struggle and the sacrifice of both life and Country that many gave so that we may have our freedom of speech and our freedom of identity.

    If one looks at and considers the actions of the Central Council members of the Irish Red Cross over the last decade.Could it be said by anyone that it was worth it?

    It appears at all times when faced with acts that are truly despicable they show their own morality is truly lacking, they bring shame upon themselves and their Country.

    Mr Wardick do not waver from the righteousness of acts of good it will be rewarded.

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  3. Anonymous4:46 AM

    Has Tony Lawlor submitted a nomination for the Vice Chairman again this year? The deadline is any day now. If he does it would make it 21 years as Vice Chairman, something that is in breach of good governance practice. Even ignoring the Tsunami Tipperary bank account crisis nobody should be allowed serve on a board for 21 years. Mr Lawlor should be advised to step down from the Executive Committee for a minimum of five years. His continued presence makes a mockery of all talk of governance reform. To step down for 5 years would demonstrate a real genuine commitment to proper governance. The Irish Red Cross Treasurer, Ted Noonan should also step down for a minimum period of five years as should anyone else on the Executive Committee who has 10 years service or more. If they dont step down then real questions must be asked about their commitment to true governance reform.

    The Irish Red Cross needs a new generation of leaders. Like the boards of the banks, board renewal is urgently required and if not done voluntarily then like with the banks it should be made compulsory. Given the obsession with power and position within the Irish Red Cross by some people the compulsory route out the door will be the order of the day.

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  4. Anonymous4:53 AM

    Good comment up above. There is no way Lawlor or Noonan or Horwell will ever voluntarily step down. Like with the banks they will only go if forced to go. And if they are forced to go lets make sure they dont go with a big payout like the banking buckos!

    Has Darren Ryan, Chairman of the Youth Working Group, made his views about the Tipperary tsunami bank account known yet? Has he any thoughts on good governance? His Labour party is always going on about it so would be nice to see its elected members putting some of the talk into practice. Maybe Darren is working behind the scenes to make the changes happen and if he is fair play to him. If he isnt then its a pity as young capable people like Darren represent the future leadership but future leaders need to show courage especially when the old leaders have performed as the Irish Red Cross leaders have. As said in another comment, new leaders are required, the next generation. Darren and others, please step forward.

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  5. Anonymous5:39 AM

    Indeed, board renewal is key for the Irish Red Cross to move forward and drag itself out of the old Irish mentality of cronyism and established power bases (usually detrimental to the organisation). The Irish Red Cross appears to be an organisation that believes it can stumble on blissfully unaware of the events developing around the country. Ireland is changing, the seismic shift in our fortunes has necessitated this change. It has not been any overnight change as witnessed across many Middle Eastern and African countries. I believe this nation is in shock, we are fighting daily battles for survival, how to cover the mortgage? how to cover the kids school expenses? Is my job, if I have one, safe? and so on, this is the reality for hundreds of thousands of people in this country.
    However while the cold reality of our plight is sinking in, shock is and will continue to turn to anger. Anger that will demand change. We are seeing small but significant steps in this regard most of which have been referenced by others in this blog:
    (i) The Minister's (for Justice and Defence) commitment to tackling white collar crime and ensuring openess, tranparency and accountability in all statute based organisations (this includes the Irish Red Cross).
    (ii) The current government's commitment to a full legal review of the structures of the Irish Red Cross.
    (iii) The government's moves to remove and replace all state backed banks boards.
    (iv) Today's announcement by the HSE board to offer its resignation en-masse to the Minister for Health. Reading bewtween the lines it looks like the Minister was going to insist on this either way, at a planned meeting with the HSE board this week.

    These sample events both related and unrelated to the Irish Red Cross do offer hope to those in despair at way the Irish Red Cross has been neglected by the Central Council to date. One hopes the Central Council may wake up an realise that the country including Red Cross Members, Volunteers and the Irish Tax Payer will no longer accept poor corporate governance and from now on demand the highest standards. It is no big bang revolution, but people are angry. People who are proud of the Red Cross and dedicated to the Red Cross Movement are angry.
    Two scenarios present themselves :
    (i) The current Central Council resign and do not stand for re-election and a newly elected Council start the process of rehabilitating the organisation.
    (ii) The Central Council continues in its neglect of the organisation and do not resign. In this schenario the fate of the HSE and Bank Boards will hopefully befall the Central Council, ie the people that the board is answerable to will decide they are no longer justified in their positions.

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  6. Anonymous4:14 AM

    The comment above is very well thought out and written. In ideal circumstances the Irish Red Cross Executive Committee and Central Council would resign en masse and allow an interim Central Council and Executive Committee of new people be put in place and for both to work with the new Secretary General, Donal Forde, in reforming the Irish Red Cross and in recovering it from the crisis it has been left in.

    Irish Red Cross Executive Committee members are caught in a time warp. They have failed to realise that the world around them has changed and their continued insistence on remaining in place makes them look out dated and antiquated. This is exemplified by the likes of Tony Lawlor and Ted Noonan insisting that they remain on the Executive Committee and on Central Council despite being there for donkeys years. They cannot face the simple reality that the Irish Red Cross will continue, grow, develop, improve and thrive WITHOUT them. No-one is irreplaceable and the current Executive is certainly not. Do the decent thing and follow the example of the HSE Board....and GO!

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  7. Anonymous6:11 AM

    Dear Bogger,

    Whilst I appreciate many of the sentiments contained in this Blog which relate to poor governance which has engaged much time for your subscribers. I would respectfully suggest that you give too much credence on the abilities of the members of the Irish Red Cross management to comprehend the philosophy of managing anything.

    If one looks at this Society one would weep with despair they haven’t a clue, they are so fixated with self importance and self elevation that they wouldn’t have time to deal with actually applying the Principles of the Red Cross.

    I think it’s time the Irish Government just closed it down and make it what it should be a truly voluntary organisation and see how it survives with that remit.

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  8. Anonymous3:40 AM

    Please post a picture of this Lawlor he must have a 20" neck.

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  9. Anonymous2:14 PM

    I would be interested to know when I as a member of the Irish Red Cross will have the opportunity to see or indeed contribute to the proposed governance changes within the Irish Red Cross.

    I this evening contacted the Secretary of my branch who said that she had only just received these proposals last week and that the Branch will send two representatives to meet with the Central Council Area representative on the 16th May and any changes will be sent to Head Office prior to the closing date of the 23rd.

    This does not include MOI ! Wonder why.

    My Branch Secretary said that, did I expect every member to get a copy of these governance proposals. To which I replied that 'I did'.

    I was informed that the proposals being put before the Council are only a draft and will not be finalised until October at the earliest and that no decision were being made at the May meeting ! I am so happy to hear that!

    I wonder is this true?

    I once again re-iterated my disgust at Mr Lawlor being able to hold money for three years and once again was told, 'this is in the past' and he did nothing wrong it was in a 'red cross account'. So all you fundraisers you can keep the money you raise for as long as you like, decades if you so wish and you will be doing nothing wrong as long as you keep it hidden in a Red Cross account.

    So this is where the Irish Red Cross lies in the midst of a true democratic framework where if they want your opinion they will give it to you!

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