Note: The link to the full transcript of the Public Accounts Committee hearing into the Irish Red Cross is at the bottom of this article.
Under sustained questioning from well briefed and well prepared members of the Irish parliament the Irish Red Cross Secretary General, Donal Forde, was forced to admit the Society had suffered from “bad administration, bad governance, bad controls”. His admission was given in evidence at the parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Hearing into financial mismanagement and misgovernance at the Irish Red Cross on 19th January 2012.
Similarly under pressure the Irish Red Cross Chairman, David O’ Callaghan, conceded the situation around the discovery of 49 undisclosed bank accounts and the involvement of the national Vice Chairman, Anthony (Tony) Lawlor, in the largest of the undisclosed accounts was “a mess”.
The Irish Red Cross admitted that despite the scale of the crisis and the errors and wrongs committed by certain board members “no disciplinary action” was taken.
Throughout the entire proceedings it was clear for all those watching to witness the look of disbelief, exasperation and incredulity on the faces of the PAC members as the Irish Red Cross struggled to provide acceptable and credible answers.
The 19th January 2012 was a shameful day in the history of the Irish Red Cross. It was a new low for the Society to have its leaders provide a litany of untruths, inaccuracies and falsehoods on public record before the Irish Parliament.
It is the view of this Blog that those who issued these untruths should resign immediately before any further damage is done to the Society. Every attempt will be made to expose these untruths and falsehoods. They will not go unchallenged.
The position of the national Vice Chairman is completely untenable and it is clear from reading the transcripts of the PAC hearing that the Committee members feel the same. Mr Lawlor’s continued presence on the board and other committees of the Irish Red Cross continues to do irreparable damage to the Society’s image, credibility and reputation. Surely the Society will not re-appoint Mr. Lawlor for the 22nd year in a row in May 2012. To do so will bring howls of derision down on the Society. The Blog has also called on numerous occasions for the resignation of the national Treasurer whose inactions make him fully complicit in the “mess” referred to by the Chairman, David O’ Callaghan.
The Irish Red Cross should use the occasion of the special Central Council meeting scheduled for 10th March 2012 to announce the permanent departure of the Vice Chairman and Treasurer.
The Irish Red Cross no doubt believed the PAC hearing on 19th January 2012 would draw a line under the sand of recent controversies, mismanagement, misgovernance and financial irregularities. Because of the depth and extent of the untruths and misrepresentation of facts told at the hearing the Society has plunged itself into a whole new crisis. Not only does this risk entangling senior individuals from the previous leadership who have since resigned but it also embroils the new leadership.
Once again the crisis and reputational damage facing the Society is entirely self inflicted. If the values of integrity, honesty, openness, transparency, justice and courage prevailed all this could have been completely avoided. Unfortunately, that is not the Irish Red Cross way.
The Blog intends to go through in minute detail the transcripts from the hearing. It will formally respond to the Department of Defence and the Public Accounts Committee. In doing so the Blog will outline all untruths and falsehoods so that the truth is formally recorded and available to the public. It is essential the Irish Red Cross is held fully accountable for their actions. Every attempt will be made to do so.
The link to the full official transcript of the hearing is:
Peace if possible, truth at all costs-Martin Luther King