Thursday, May 26, 2011

Irish Red Cross DRAFT proposed Constitution should be rejected

On Saturday 28th May 2011 the Central Council of the Irish Red Cross will vote on its DRAFT proposed new Constitution. The consultation process has been minimal. There are apparently 6,000 members of the Irish Red Cross and about 30 staff. How many of these have ever been consulted or have ever seen a copy of the proposed Constitution about to be voted on?

Apart from Central Council members, who number 42, only a small handful of individuals around the country have seen the proposals. This Blog estimates an absolute maximum 90-100 members, possibly much less. Out of 6,000 this is a disgrace.

Whether staff have been consulted and received a copy of the DRAFT only they can comment but knowing well the Irish Red Cross the Blog doubts very much their opinions or views were sought.

No external independent expertise was used during the Constitution design process. This is highly unusual especially when most (but not all) of those who made up the Governance Working Group have no professional experience or knowledge of good governance practice. The complete lack of organisational wide consultation is an outright breach of good corporate governance practice. The proposals were devised by a small number of individuals, the dominant and influential of whom have only one agenda, retention of power.

The Constitution will be voted on 28th May by individuals who historically do exactly as they are told. It is not clear if the vote will be by secret ballot or if a majority or a two thirds majority is required in order for it to be endorsed.

The Irish Red Cross will tell anyone foolish enough to listen that they intend to bring in effective governance and to reform the organisation. They have said this for 20 years. In the same breath people such as the Vice Chairman and Treasurer have put their names forward for continued membership of the Executive Committee for 2011/12. The Vice Chairman has served for 20 years and now he is going forward for his 21st year in a row!! Even ignoring his involvement in the Tipperary tsunami bank account scandal such long service is in complete violation of all good governance practice.

Actions speak louder than words. The actions of these long serving board members in going forward again makes a total mockery of any supposed governance reform process. Serving 21 years on a board is utterly unjustifiable. The Treasurer has served nearly ten years on the board, also unjustifiable. If these individuals were genuinely committed to good governance they would resign immediately and not go forward for election to Central Council or Executive for a minimum of five years but preferably never again.

The DRAFT Constitution that the Central Council will vote on this Saturday 28th May is poorly designed and is reflective of a complete lack of consultation. It will ensure the likes of the Vice Chairman, Treasurer and a few complient others will remain on the board for many years to come.

Smaller branches and Areas will over time become increasingly marginalised and power and influence will be concentrated in the hands of a very few.

It can only be hoped that both the International Red Cross in Geneva and the Irish Government use their power of veto and reject the DRAFT Constitution as unacceptable.

The Central Council has heretofore shown itself incapable of governing effectively or reigning in the excesses of the Executive Committee. An unquestioning herd mentality and group think has been a defining characteristic of the Central Council and Saturday 28th will be no different.

While certain individuals will see the endorsement of this flawed Constitution as a victory in reality it will be viewed externally as further evidence of the antiquated, dysfunctional and backward nature of the Society's governance structures and those who control it. The ongoing reputational damage to the Irish Red Cross will continue unabated as a result.

Noel Wardick, former Head of the Irish Red Cross International Department, has written a detailed analysis of the DRAFT Irish Red Cross Constitution in which he outlines the reasons why it is flawed, why it is a threat to organisational democracy and why it should be rejected. He has sent a copy of this document to the Irish Red Cross Chairman, Irish Red Cross Secretary General, IFRC in Geneva, Minister for Justice and Defence-Alan Shatter and to a number of Central Council reps whose email addresses he has.

Any member who wishes a copy of the analysis and commentary can request one by contacting

One can only hope the Central Council will do the right thing on 28th May and reject the DRAFT Constitution but given their record of acquiescence and subservience over the years one wouldn't bet on it.


  1. Anonymous12:17 PM

    If the Central reject something that the Executive approve it will be a historical first !

    Most of this bunch don't even know what they are there for. They certainly have never been given any induction training. Not a single one has a copy of the International Red Cross handbook. They do know however that they can get expenses and a free lunch ! What more do they need to know!

  2. Anonymous1:13 AM

    Today is the day 28th May when the Irish Red Cross may be iether saved from the depths or designated a place in history. The choices are actually simple, but it suffice to say that fear is a terrible human feature. The vast amount of those that go to the Central Council meeting area afaraid of having an opinion so they don't speak. They are failures that in the light of knowledge of wrong doing they persist in their silence.

    Mr Wardick please for the sake of the Red Cross when it is your turn to speak insure these silent gaurdians of the REd Cross are held accountable for the worng they have done to the many millikns of people they have denied assistance by using the money destined for Appeals in a way which was never intended by the donors.
    To the DONORS do not given these people your money they can not be trusted! They have abused our trust and should be all sacked from the Society!

  3. Anonymous12:03 PM

    can someone please advise how the hell is horwell and lawlor going forward AGAIN for the executive committee??????

    Also how are the national treasurer and national secretary going forward for the executive as they are not members of the central council????

    The longer i am in this organisation the more disgusted i get with the shower in Dublin why do we bother at all

  4. Anonymous9:36 AM

    The Central Council members did what was expected of them on Saturday and approved the new rules put before them. They suggest that they were aparty to a democratic process where they engaged with the memebership so as to form a concensus of opinon. Well, this is what should have happened.

    The reality is, that few were consulted and they the Central Council are now home, a job well done and the status quo remains.

    Sheila Callan was I believe appointed onto the Executive, perhaps she will now be the spokesperson having been totally discredited in the prime time program (your supposed to tell the truth Shiela). Anyhow, the struggle goes on and these rules, the farce that they are, will change nothing.

    Oh yes, I heard one CC member say, the new rules are better than nothing ! So is the only reason you can think of to keep Tony Lawlor as vice chairperson, he is just better than nothing ! He and several other members have been totally discredited and your failure to get rid shows that you are a failure!

    Mr Wardick you are right !

  5. Below is a letter I asked to be presented to Central Council, but I am not sur eif it was given after or before the vote on the Governance proposals. I have despite many letters not received a copy of these new proposals, now this is true example of autocratic leadership.

    Dear Donal,

    Further to your offer of bringing issues before the Central Council I wish you to bring this letter to the urgent attention of the Central Council tomorrow.

    Today I contacted several life members of the Irish Red Cross, none of whom have received any communication in any form from the Society in relation to governance proposals or changes to the rules of the Society.

    In the light of this I feel that it would be a breach of good Governance and respect to allow any decision to be made until these matters are properly discussed with the members. I respectfully ask that no vote should take place until after proper consultation which engages all the membership takes place.

    I include myself in the above as I have received no communication relating to Governance proposals despite several requests.

    Sincerely Yours

    Gerard Moyne
    Life Member Irish Red Cross

  6. Anonymous12:42 PM

    It will be interesting in the coming weeks as all those who voted for these Governance proposals can now stick their heads back in the sand, Not one of them supported the membership who have been left out in the cold. Well, you can all be very proud of yourselves allowing Tony Lawlor to lord over you like a cock pheasant, a guy who would not only hide money but gladly break the rules to insure no one knew. Shame all of you once again.

    The up side is that the fat lady has not sung the song yet, you can vote on anything you like, but we will have the last say. Who are we?

    The members! The Donors and the righteous !

  7. Anonymous12:44 PM

    Re comment above as far as the Blog is aware both the national Treasurer and national Secretary are in fact members of the Central Council.


  8. Anonymous2:47 PM

    Has anyone noticed that this is one of the few organisations that the members of the Governing body wish to remain anonymous.
    Few people know who is on this body and those that are on it, apart from Sheila Callan (of Prime Time fame)wish to have their identities known. Is this the reason why there is no press at any of their meetings. No briefings and certainly no reports out to the members...!

    Does this sound like a Masonic order or the Red Cross. Shame on you Lawlor for having the neck to show your face not alone continue in office.

  9. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Re comment above as far as the Blog is aware both the national Treasurer and national Secretary are in fact members of the Central Council.


    Yes, you are correct. They both are Central Council members.