Thursday, June 30, 2011

Minister requests Irish Red Cross to address issue of long serving Board members but his request is ignored

On Wednesday 29th June 2011 an Adjournment Debate in Dail Eireann (Irish Parliament) on the continuing problems at the Irish Red Cross took place.

Labour Party (member of coalition government) deputy Aodhán O Riordáin made an excellent speech outlining the 20 year crisis at the Irish Red Cross. He raised numerous issues including abuse of power, financial irregularities and in particular the excessive length of service of certain board members. He called for government funding to the Irish Red Cross to be suspended until a full independent investigation takes place.

Minister for Justice and Defence, Alan Shatter, responded to Deputy O' Riordáin. While the Minister issued the standard civil servant drafted reply in parts he did, however, go much further than his predecessors and this is to be welcomed and acknowledged. It is clear from his responses that he and the Government have very serious issues with the long service of certain board members and the overall governance of the Irish Red Cross.

The Minister informed Parliament that on 16th May 2011 he wrote to the Irish Red Cross asking them that they address the issue of long service members. 12 days after receiving this letter the Irish Red Cross gave the Minister his answer. They re-appointed Tony Lawlor and Ted Noonan, something which clearly flew in the face of the Minister's request.

It is quite incredulous that the Irish Red Cross would ignore a specific written request from a high ranking government minister in such an arrogant, dismissive and egotistic manner. One can only imagine the reaction of the Minister. Minister Shatter stated that Irish Red Cross funding from the Government for 2012 is under review. Perhaps the Minister will use the funding as the tool to express his displeasure. If he does the Irish Red Cross only has itself to blame.

Another question that must be asked is why Irish Red Cross Central Council members were NOT informed about the Minister's May 16th letter? This letter was not shared with CC members. Perhaps if they had been issued with a copy and therefore aware that the Minister had formally requested they address the issue of long service members they would not have re-appointed Tony Lawlor and Ted Noonan. They may have thereby avoided the ire of the Minister.

The Examiner newspaper of 30th June 2011 carries an article under the heading "Minister Shatter seeks assurances on Irish Red Cross funding". The Minister has obviously felt it necessary to write to the Irish Red Cross to seek assurances that its government grant is being honestly and properly spent. This in itself is an indictment on the Society.

Link is:

The full Dail debate will be up on the Blog once Parliament publishes it.


  1. Anonymous6:07 AM

    Fine Gael made a promise to the Irish people that they would reform the Irish Red Cross. This is now a broken promise as they Fine Gael and the Minister Alan Shatter are like a bull being led around by the nose. The new Secretary General, Donal Forde, is now under full control of his masters and has most definitely given up the Ghost in his position as CEO.

    Minister Shatter is now being treated with the same contempt as everyone else by Anthony Lawlor, Ted Noonan, Tom Horwell and Sheila Callans and the rest of the inner circle. Their mantra of being totally untouchable is now and well and truly enshrined and this Minister is babbling in the Dail, with platitudes supplied by his mentors, (the same old rhetoric). The Irish Red Cross was set up by and act of the ....blah blah blah.

    Minister we all know the story it has been written for you a hundered times, lets see some action and less bull. Why do you wish to protect these Fianna Fail puppets?

  2. Anonymous1:51 PM

    This is all like something out of poor movies... What's with these guys are you all that soft in Ireland that you take this crap. Kick their butss out and that is it ! They should not be able to have a single meeting without you all standing there asking them to get to hell out of your lives. This guy hiding money should join Mr Madeoff, yeah, I know he has gone to a better jail. Is it any wonder your Country has so much corruption when you tolerate this kind of persistant apathy.

    Good on ya Mr Wardick keep up the Blog its just the bizz !

  3. Anonymous2:17 AM

    The lack of confidence by government in the IRC is a serious issue and threatens the special auxiliary role that it has as part of its legal mandate in responding to humanitarian needs both within and outside the country. Both domestic and international law applies to IRC as does the the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
    The IRC has that unique humanitarian position which sets it apart from other charities and aid agencies and it should demonstrate its operational capacity to deserve the role as agreed with government. As a respected operator it would expect to be actively working in coordination with government to supplement such auxiliary services as in; disaster preparedness and relief response, first aid training and provision, dissemination of International Humanitarian Law (with military, colleges and press etc), migration and protection.
    The auxiliary role of the IRC will continue to be threatened if it does not develop or retain its capacity to meet its auxiliary obligations and if it does not command the mutual trust and respect of government.
    IRC would be expected to have an influential voice in advocacy for improved effectiveness and efficiency of government aid.
    Is it too much to expect IRC to change course now so that its important and privileged national and international role is not put at risk?

  4. Anonymous3:21 AM

    The Irish Red Cross no longer has an influential voice, it has lost all of its credibility as an NGO. The Government and other bodies know it is a basket case. However, at local level the membership who are almost only involved in First Aid are in a daze. They will do anything to protect their own little empires as no other organisation would facilitate them or tolerate their incompetance.
    If one looks at the membership who are in control, almost all of them have remained in the same positions for decades. This is an organisation that needs to be closed for business and re opened with all new structures and new committed members. But not committed to self promotion but to the ideals of the Red Cross.

  5. Anonymous3:46 AM

    Thank you for raising this issue. I stumbled on your block by chance. I contribute regularly to the Red Cross and heard chatter about the issues with the organisation. At last I have decided to attempt to get more information. How can I obtain information about how much IRC funding is spent on administration, fundraising, and so on. I would like to know for every euro the organisation receives, how many cents are spent on 'projects on the ground'.