Monday, February 6, 2012

Irish Red Cross challenged over its evidence to parliamentary investigative committee

NOTE: On 2nd February 2012 the Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) once again (for the 3rd time) returned to the issue of the Irish Red Cross. It seems the PAC has every intention of pursuing the Irish Red Cross over its highly questionable evidence presented at PAC hearing of 19th January 2012. The exact transcript from 2nd February PAC is transcribed below as well as the link to the Parliament's website with the wording:

http://debates.oireachtas.ie/ACC/2012/02/02/00003.asp


Chairman John Mc Guinness: No. 3.8 is correspondence dated 21 January 2012 from Mr. Noel Wardick, Former Head of International Department, Irish Red Cross regarding the appearance of the Irish Red Cross before the committee on 19 January 2012. It is to be noted and published. The correspondence is to be forwarded to the Irish Red Cross-----

Deputy Eoghan Murphy: Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy On the last item of correspondence 3.8, my understanding from the letter is that further correspondence is pending where pieces of the transcript will be highlighted for the committee. It is claimed that those pieces are inaccurate. This issue will stay on our agenda for the foreseeable future because there is going to be an issue with some of the evidence that was given at the hearing when the Irish Red Cross appeared before the committee a couple of weeks ago. I want to note that. When that further correspondence comes in, it should be sent to Irish Red Cross to ask for its comments on the issues raised.

Chairman: Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness That has to do with evidence given, rather than the record of the meeting. Is that correct?

Deputy Eoghan Murphy: Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy That is correct.

Deputy Derek Nolan: Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan Who sent that letter?

Chairman: Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness Mr. Noel Wardick.

Deputy Derek Nolan: Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan That is fine.

Chairman: Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness Is that okay? Agreed.

Deputy Derek Nolan: Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan Are we in a position to continue to challenge the Irish Red Cross or are we at the discretion of its goodwill to come back to the committee? As the Irish Red Cross is not obliged to report to the committee what is the position?

Chairman: Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness Once it has given the evidence and it has been heard and there are issues arising from that, we are obliged to continue with it, and the Irish Red Cross is obliged to answer.

Deputy Derek Nolan: Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan Okay.

Chairman: Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness That is probably the route this will take.

Deputy Eoghan Murphy: Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I wish to come back in on that issue. Deputy Nolan is correct on one point that we cannot keep on harassing people who have taken the time to appear before the committee and explain themselves. Following the appearance of the Irish Red Cross a number of people, not just Mr. Noel Wardick, have been in touch with me to express their concerns about certain things that were said, and people who were not previously in touch with me and who might have been named at that meeting, might have an issue with things that were said about their role or what knowledge they may or may not have had at the time. For that reason it is important that we continue to address the issue and bring to the Irish Red Cross those elements of the evidence it gave on the day.

Chairman: Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness We can do that but there is a valid point in terms of Deputy Nolan has said. We cannot continue on willy nilly, we have to draw a line somewhere. Perhaps as we study the correspondence and the crossfire that has taken place, we can bring it to a natural end at some stage.

Deputy Eoghan Murphy: Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Hopefully.

On 19th January 2012 the Irish Red Cross was hauled over the coals by Ireland’s most senior parliamentary committee, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). As readers of this blog will be familiar the reason for the Society’s appearance before the Committee is the extensive misgovernance and financial irregularities at the charity.

In the course of giving evidence representatives of the Irish Red Cross told untruths and misrepresented facts. The evidence and excuses provided left many observers including the members of parliament sitting on the PAC shocked, angered and bemused.

Those responsible must be held to account for the evidence and inaccuracies provided. They must also apologise publicly and on the record as well as stating why they told untruths and clarify whether they did so knowingly. If they did so unknowingly the people who provided them the inaccurate information need to be removed from the Society immediately. If on the other hand the Irish Red Cross representatives provided inaccurate information knowingly they must resign forthwith.

At least two individuals have already formally and on record written to the Public Accounts Committee challenging the evidence provided by the Society. Following a review of this correspondence the PAC decided to publish both letters on public record. The two letters are transcribed in full below and the links to their publication on the Dail/Oireachtas website are also provided.

The letter written by Noel Wardick, former Head of International at the Irish Red Cross has been forwarded by PAC to the Irish Red Cross. The PAC has requested a formal written response from the Society to Wardick’s letter. This response will be published by PAC in due course.

It is very important that the PAC continues to pursue and challenge the Irish Red Cross who seemed to be under the mistaken illusion that once the PAC hearing on the 19th January concluded the matter would be closed. The Public Accounts Committee obviously takes a very dim view of receiving inaccurate and untruthful information.

The link to Noel Wardick’s published letter is:

http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/pac/correspondence/2012-meeting260202/[PAC-R-262]Correspondence-3.8.pdf

The second letter to be published by PAC was written by Mr. Gerard Moyne, a current life member of the Irish Red Cross. Of particular note in Mr. Moyne’s letter is his assertion, contrary to what the Irish Red Cross has led us to believe, that is was not only not common practice for branches to open separate branch bank accounts for overseas appeals money but that such a practice was in fact frowned upon. Mr. Moyne claims that during his time as a Red Cross branch secretary overseas appeals monies were always expeditiously transferred directly to Irish Red Cross HQ in Dublin. The opposite happened in Tipperary where the national Vice Chairman, Anthony (Tony) Lawlor, was a bank account signatory. The link to Mr. Moyne’s letter is:

http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/pac/correspondence/2012-meeting252601/%5BPAC-R-253%5DCorrespondence-3.6.pdf

The full transcript of Wardick’s letter is as follows:

21st January 2012

Mr. John Mc Guinness, TD

Chairman,

Public Accounts Committee,

Leinster House,

Kildare Street,

Dublin 2.

Public Accounts Committee Hearing into Irish Red Cross 19th January 2012

Dear Chairman,

I watched the above hearing live on line and I can only describe my reaction to the statements and answers provided by the Irish Red Cross as one of shock, outrage and disgust.

The extent of misinformation and quite frankly untruths told is staggering. To do so on public record, in our national parliament and before elected representatives is astounding.

I believe great damage has been done to the image and reputation of the Red Cross, its emblem and everything it stands for. Based on what I witnessed at the hearing I greatly fear for the future, the integrity and the welfare of the Irish Red Cross.

Whether the Irish Red Cross representatives believed what they were saying to be accurate and true only they will ever know. Regardless it does not take away from the inaccuracy of very substantial parts of their evidence.

I intend to respond in detail to the statements and answers provided by the Red Cross representatives once the full transcript of the hearing becomes available. I will forward this to the Public Accounts Committee and the Department of Defence as a formal record.

In relation to one issue, however, I will record my view now. It is factually incorrect to say that when the Tipperary account was first discovered in 2008 that the then Head of Finance told nobody and that for a number of years no board member therefore knew about the account’s existence and/or discovery. In 2008 when the bank account was discovered at least three senior board members were informed. One of these subsequently resigned over the organisation’s failure to investigate the matter as well as other concerns the person had surrounding governance and finance. A fourth, the Vice Chairman who was one of the signatories on the Tipperary bank account, also obviously knew.

In addition to these board members the Secretary General of the Society at the time was immediately informed (2008). I am sure this can easily be verified by the individual who is currently a senior civil servant in the Department of Justice and Defence (he was on secondment to the Irish Red Cross as Secretary General at the time of the bank account’s discovery).

As Head of the International Department I was personally informed by the Secretary General of the bank account’s discovery circa Sept/Oct 2008. I have email correspondence to the Secretary General in early October 2008 stating that I felt the Vice Chairman should resign over the matter. I can provide a copy of this email if required. I continually called (until my dismissal) for an independent investigation into the account (at senior management meetings, at staff meetings and during numerous private discussions with two separate Secretary Generals).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you as Chair Deputy Mc Guinness and all members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for investigating the Irish Red Cross and the allegations of misgovernance and financial malpractice. Given the enormous workload on the Committee there are many of us very appreciative that the PAC discussed this issue not only once but on two separate occasions, 13th October 2011 and 19th January 2012.

I think it only correct to note Deputy Kieran O’ Donnell for being an excellent Chair on the 19th and for allowing the hearing continue for well over two and a half hours thereby facilitating a rigorous and detailed questioning of the Irish Red Cross. Interventions by Deputies Derek Nolan, Simon Harris and Anne Ferris were also extremely important. In particular, however, I would wish to commend the lead questioner on the 19th, Deputy Eoghan Murphy. His knowledge of the subject matter was detailed and comprehensive and as such must have entailed a considerable investment of time, energy and preparation. In a time when public representatives are seemingly continually and collectively criticised I would want to put on record my own appreciation to all of those on PAC who obviously put significant effort and work into this case.

Yours sincerely,

Noel Wardick

12 Conquer Hill Avenue,

Clontarf,

Dublin 3.

Cc: Minister for Justice and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, TD

The full transcript of Mr. Moyne’s letter to PAC is below:

Inishoneil

Carndonagh

Co. Donegal

23rd January 2012

FAO

The Chairperson & Committee Members

Eoin Kinane
Committee Secretariat
Committee of Public Accounts

Dear Mr Kinane,

I would appreciate it if you would circulate this letter to committee members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

On Thursday last (19th January), I attended as an observer the meeting PAC held with representatives of the Dept. of Defence and the representatives of the Irish Red Cross Society.

I must state it is difficult as a committed member of the Irish Red Cross of some 38 years to observe the charade that was presented to the Committee. One might liken the evidence given by the Irish Red Cross to that given to a similar commission set up in the USA to investigate the events of 9/11. The evidence given to that commission is widely recognised as having blurred the facts as opposed to highlighting them. The Red Cross did not however present the facts to your Committee they waffled their way through the proceedings stating fiction as fact and presenting fact to support fiction.

The burglary of the Irish Red Cross head office in the 1980’s was used to add credence to a belief that the failures to present property information in the Society’s accounts were as a result of something that happened some three decades ago. Had the time frame been added when the Irish Red Cross answered the property questions I am sure the Committee would have been less than impressed.

When the PAC produce a transcript of the hearing I will respond in detail why it is I firmly believe that most of what was presented to the committee is fundamentally flawed and much of it inaccurate.

I did find the comments less than amusing of how ‘delighted’ all the IRC representatives were to be sitting giving evidence to the PAC. I feel that they should be totally ashamed and embarrassed, that given the facts, they truly are responsible for a litany of unforgivable errors. They should be ashamed to have brought the good name of the Red Cross into disrepute, not delighted having to defend its good name and explain their financial and governance irregularities.

I will state for the record that prior to the official line that no one knew about the Tipperary money for a very lengthy period after its discovery in 2008 by Mr Declan O Sullivan the facts are that quite a few people knew, the matter was being widely discussed amongst the membership in 2008 and 2009 that the Vice Chairman of the Society had not only failed to declare the Tsunami money but that the Tipperary Branch had not made returns at all to head office in several years, in downright breach of policy at the time (this is noted in the internal review into the Tipperary bank account). This information was being widely discussed on the grapevine amongst staff and volunteers.

Might I also comment on the issue of staff failures to control the level of monies coming in for the Tsunami Appeal. For many years prior to this, with alot less staff, large appeals were held for Armenia, Somalia and Sudan: to name but a few. This excuse has no grounding. The failure was with the board and NOT with staff who are being targeted by those board members and one or two senior managers guilty and complicit in this cover up.

During my time over a several year period as Secretary of the Red Cross in Donegal, it was not as stated to you at the PAC, a practice to put Appeal money into Branch accounts, in fact this was frowned upon. All money was sent directly to Head Office. This can easily be verified by production of Branch Accounts. It is very disconcerting that Red Cross staff are once again being blamed for what was an attempt to hide money.

I must congratulate the Committee for its respect of the good name of the Red Cross and the recognition of its vital role in our Society. I am sure the Committee were, as I was, stunned at the current Irish Red Cross leaders unwillingness to have the vice chairman stand down having held office for an inordinate period of twenty one years.

They stated that they cannot get a single person out of the so called five thousand volunteers to take on the roles of the Treasurer and Vice Chairman. This is a derisible excuse.

I look forward to presenting my views in detail on the disgraceful performance of the Irish Red Cross at the PAC on the 19th January. It is important that the public record shows fact.

I am most concerned that the characters of a number of persons have been brought into disrepute by Mr Forde and Mr O Callaghan in the giving of their evidence. I trust the PAC will allow the records to show that these persons have been given an opportunity to respond to the allegations presented to the PAC. I have no doubt that these persons will in due course respond to the allegations by the Red Cross against them.

Sincerely yours

Gerard Moyne

Life Member Irish Red Cross

Half a truth is often a great lie-Benjamin Franklin

41 comments:

  1. I think this quote expresses were I stand.

    Gerard Moyne
    Life Member Irish Red Cross

    "We who engage in non-violent, direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive, we bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion it can be cured.

    Martin Luther King

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  2. Anonymous12:56 AM

    Two excellent letters Mr. Wardick and Mr. Moyne. Fair play to you both for publicly challenging the Irish Red Cross and going on record. The magnifying glass needs to be shone on Irish Red Cross for a long time before they are cleansed.

    Tony Lawlor and Ted Noonan's positions on the board and within Irish Red Cross have been untenable for a very long time but following the performance of the Irish Red Cross in the Dail on the 19th January serious questions must be asked about Donal Forde, Secretary General and the Chairman, David O' Callaghan. They are both on very thin ice and are quickly learning that defending Tony Lawlor may be the rock they sink on and may in time cost them their jobs

    A third Irish Red Cross person spoke in the Dail but cant remember his name but as he is not a decision maker his role is not really relevant in the big issues at stake here. A fourth person was in the background, behind Forde, who answered questions for Forde but her role and background is not known to me but given Forde gave inaccurate information in the Dail everybody involved in assisting him must be investigated to determine their role

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  3. Anonymous1:03 AM

    At the Fundraising seminar referred to in comments on the previous article which will take place on 8th Feb we are informed that the Irish Red Cross Head of Funding, Ronan Ryan, will speak at a special conference and his presentation will be: How the Irish Red Cross learned to say sorry.

    While a disgrace that Irish Red Cross continues to propagate a story that it has adequately apologised which in itself shows how low they have sank, will the Irish Red Cross during the presentation apologise to the host of the event....yes Google is hosting and sponsoring the event at which Irish Red Cross will speak at! In 2010 Irish Red Cross humiliated themselves by taking legal action against Google in a failed attempt to identify the author of this blog. Google refused and Irish Red Cross were laughed at and eventually walked away with their tails between their legs. Irish Red Cross lawyers benefited handsomely as they earned €140,000 in 2010 from the Society.

    So Ronan dont forget to publicly apologise to Google this Wednesday during your speech.

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  4. Anonymous10:27 AM

    Is it not somewhat ironic that Ronan the guy who was, shall we say, economical with the facts before the PAC on behalf of the Red Cross, will be defending the Red Cross tomorrow at Google. I am sure the fact that his employers spent 145k trying to sue GOOGLE must be of great amusement to them. I wonder will he mention in his oration that the Red Cross are so sorry that they made such an incredibly foolish decision to take on Google. Funny really :)

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  5. Anonymous11:25 PM

    What will Ronan say today at gogle, certainly after heaing the revelations as stated above at the recent PAC he will need to consider his position. Then again he knew he was making available to the PAC a story line which did not support the fact.

    Will he now put his hands up or will he say sorry. Caught again. Boo Hoo!

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  6. Anonymous8:16 AM

    I see Irish Red Cross has an interesting appeal on its home page for Niger. Interesting because there are questions as to whether Irish Red Cross is operating any therapeutic feeding programs in Niger, which is what they are advertising for. If they are they must have suddenly started them as from reading their annual reports they never had these type of programs before. Lets hope Irish Red Cross is not falsely advertising. If Irish Red Cross or the IFRC or Niger Red Cross is not doing these programs in Niger then Irish Red Cross is in big trouble...again.

    It really is sad to see the deterioration in Irish Red Cross appeals in recent times but I think it reflects the lack of honesty displayed by the Society recently. Irish Red Cross is embracing a very dangerous culture and one the public needs to be very wary of.

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  7. Anonymous1:01 AM

    The Public Accounts Committee has to be congratulated for its continued investigation into the Irish Red Cross.

    It is very impressive that they have committed so much time to questioning and exposing what has is happening at the Society. It is clear from the text of their 2nd Feb meeting that they are suspicious of Irish Red Cross evidence especially since a number of people have contacted PAC complaining about IRC evidence.

    The PAC helps restores my faith in Irish politicians. Keep the pressure on IRC as the minute it stops god only knows how awful things will be at the IRC

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  8. Anonymous2:46 AM

    Totally agree with the above post because in the absence of any "calling to account" from within the organisation and with no response to public pressure to reform, it appears to be the only option.
    What also is in question is why the Irish Red Cross can hold onto the privelage and profile benefits of membership of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) when it so clearly bringing the reputation and integrity of the whole Movement into disrepute.
    While there is a system (run by ICRC) to admit National Societies, it does not appear to have the authority to take away or suspend membership. This results in demeaning the admission and membership process which needs to be addressed urgently.
    With Irish Aid demonstrating a new found monitoring capacity and intent as in their current demands for reform and answers from GOAL; it is clear that the old ways of incestual governance are over.
    Irish Aid are to be commended for having a more professional approach to aid and they should be encouraged to critically look even beyond the governance of IRC to look at the results and impact claimed.

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  9. Anonymous3:57 AM

    Dear Readers,

    The Blog read with interest the comment above about the Irish Red Cross Niger Appeal that recently appeared on the home page of its website and the concern raised by the commentor that the advert was potentially misleading.

    The Blog notes with interest that this Niger Appeal seems to have now been removed (as at 10th Feb) from the Irish Red Cross website. This is clearly an interesting and somewhat revealing development. Has the Irish Red Cross been exposed and therefore removed it? Or are there perfectly acceptable reasons why it has been suddenly removed? Only Irish Red Cross knows the answer.

    The Blog decided to read the IFRC Revised Emergency Appeal for Niger so as to understand what the Red Cross plans to do in Niger. Presumably this is what the Irish Red Cross has based its appeal on as presumably the funds received from members of the public would be used for these activities.

    The IFRC Niger Appeal states on Page 9 that "Ready to use Therapeutic Food/Food Supplies (From WFP/UNICEF)" will be distributed to health malnutrition centres. The critical thing to note here is that the therapeutic food supplies will be provided to the Red Cross from the UN World Food Program (WFP) and from UNICEF. Red Cross will then distribute the food. This therefore means the Red Cross will NOT need money to purchase therapeutic food supplies as such food will be provided free by the UN.

    The Irish Red Cross clearly implied in its Niger Appeal advert on its website that donations would be used to purchase therapeutic food (plumpy nut). No where in the IFRC appeal does the Red Cross say it will purchase therapeutic food but instead it will deliver the supplies provided free of charge by WFP and Unicef.

    The full IFRC Niger Appeal is available on the below link:

    http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/MDRNE010ea.pdf

    It is a matter for readers to decide for themselves whether the Irish Red Cross Niger Appeal reflects accurately what the Red Cross will spend its money on or whether its advertisement was misleading. If individuals feel the advert is genuine and accurate there is no issue. If individuals feel it was misleading they can always lodge a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland.

    The Blog

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  10. Anonymous7:16 AM

    Dear blogger,

    Does this mean that Ronan will have to call personally all donors that have given money to Niger, and as Donal Forde states in his you tube video, if you are not happy after six months we will give you your money back.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITOaF9MlQXw Don't bother looking its been removed ! What is really going on here?

    It would appear that the pants are firmly around their ankles once again.

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  11. Anonymous12:04 PM

    So the Irish Red Cross has finally been forced to print the list of all its properties. The Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) achieved this, something even the governing Central Council of the Irish Red Cross couldnt achieve. Well done to PAC for achieving this, they have forced a small degree of transparency on the Society.

    The only question remaining is is the list complete and accurate but still, a list of 17 is better than no list and breaches of financial standards.

    The list of properties has been published on the PAC website. The link is below. Interestingly 12 of the 17 properties listed were purchased after the supposed robbery of deeds from the head office around 1984. The robbery was given as an excuse by Donal Forde, Secretary General, for not including the properties in the financial statements of the Society for over 20 years. As feeble and pathetic an excuse as it was it doesnt explain why the 12 properties that were purchased years after the robbery were also ommitted from the organisation's accounts. The link to the list is:

    http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/pac/correspondence/2012-meeting270902/%5BPAC-R-286%5DCorrespondence-3.8.pdf

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  12. Anonymous1:27 PM

    The list is wrong !

    The list is wrong. Sorry, did I say the list is wrong.

    The bank accounts are interesting also.

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  13. Anonymous12:53 AM

    The Public Accounts Committee of the 9th Feb once again touches on financial malpractice at Irish Red Cross. It does it in the context of the recent problems at Goal.

    Deputy Eoghan Murphy, Fine Gael TD stated:

    "Deputy Eoghan Murphy: The beginning of the second paragraph states that the Department’s (of Foreign Affairs) audit team was satisfied that the State funds being provided GOAL are being spent in an appropriate manner. A similar issue arose with Irish Red Cross where the €1 million that was given to it by the Department of Defence was audited and all seemed to be fine with that but the issue of concern was about the money it was raising off the back of that and what was happening because it was public money it was raising. We made the point that as a committee the Department should take a interest in all of the funding of the organisation because we, as a State, fund so much of its activities and because it is raising public money. I think this letter is stating that the Department is happy with the money that it gives to GOAL but that does not clear the concern that has been expressed about other money that it is raising or what it is doing with its other funds and how that is structured. It relates to what we have been doing with the Irish Red Cross and I wonder if there space - there may not be - for us to examine it further. I found it interesting that this is a case where the Department is only auditing the money that it gives and not taking account of concern with regard to the other money being raised by the organisation

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  14. Anonymous10:52 AM

    I took a close look at those 49 undisclosed bank accounts as listed in the IRC correspondence to PAC. The link was given in one of the comments above.

    The bank balances are stated as the balance as at 26th March 2009. At that time it appears the Tipp tsunami bank account money was still in the Tipp bank account. The amount is noted at €160,335.41.
    Presuming this is the Tipp tsunami account and if it is it means IRC is lying once again as the money was therefore still in the Tipperary account over 7 months after the account was first discovered in August/September 2008!! This despite IRC saying the money was transferred immediately upon discovery.

    Also the Banagher branch had an €8,058 overdrawn account. How is an Irish Red Cross branch allowed run an eight grand overdraft? I wonder was that money ever repaid and how was it repaid? Was it repaid with money from the general public? Did the public know their donations were possibly used for paying overdrafts!

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  15. Anonymous2:37 PM

    Has Donal Forde stepped over the line of contempt for the authority of the PAC or has been misled by Lawlor and co. Is Forde really that naïve to think that he can give evidence without first checking its validity? Will the PAC find it amusing to be taken for fools by Mr Forde for the second time in not so many years? What about Mr Callaghan how does he fit in when it comes to giving incorrect evidence before thePAC. Will Ms Murphy the Secretary of the Executive be asked to account for herself? Was she the person that supplied the info to Forde?

    Will Forde now write to the PAC and admit that his evidence was not true or will he wait to read it in the papers? Will Lawlor and Noonan resign next month?

    There are more questions than answers. The main question will be can the Government continue to fund an organisation which has major questions over its finances? The property list provided to the PAC is to say the least an insulting document. We have a place in the Glen of imaal, doesn't really cut the mustrard in terms of accountability.

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  16. Anonymous12:56 AM

    Well spotted by the commentor above who noticed that the Tipperary Bank account money was still sitting in the Tipperary account seven months after its discovery. The statement says the money was still in Tipperary on 26th March 2009. And dont forget Irish Red Cross have always told us the money was transfered to Dublin immediately (2008).

    The inaccuracies and untruths told by Irish Red Cross continue to mount up.

    The Banagher branch eight grand overdraft could be another scandal that needs to be exposed. How can a branch run up an overdraft and who and how was it paid off and whose money was used in doing so?

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  17. Anonymous10:49 AM

    Where did the file go that Pat Hogan put together in 1992 on the property portfolio of the Red Cross ? What was Forde thinking when he told the PAC that a robbery in 1984 was the reason that they were not able to disclose to their Auditors
    properties that were purchased in 1992,1994,1999,2000,2001,2002,2006,2008,2011 and 2011. Was the investment in 2011 the money from the Haiti Appeal? shame on them if it was..

    One does not need to be a mathematician to figure out that a robbery in 1984 could not have any effect on the deeds and disclosure of the properties above.

    What in under God was Donal Forde thinking of when he used that as an excuse. Did he really think that not giving the date of the so called robbery in which it is very doubtful that any deeds were taken in the first place, that he wouldn't get caught out, or was he set up like everyone else that gets in Lawlor’s way.

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  18. Anonymous10:49 AM

    I see Irish Red Cross was forced to reword its Niger appeal after comments on this blog highlighted the misleading nature of its last appeal.

    Well done to the blog again for forcing Irish Red Cross to behave in an honest and professional manner. It seems they just cant help themselves but at least with the blog policing them they cant run away with themselves anymore.

    This blog is without a doubt the very best thing that ever happened to the Irish Red Cross. Until the whole Irish RC leadership is removed the Blog's policing service remains an absolute necessity.

    The new Niger Appeal is more carefully worded so they are not totally misleading the public but to be honest the phrase 'stop a child wasting away' is a very demeaning and poor choice of English.

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  19. Anonymous8:11 AM

    So IRC has 17 properties and 8 were purchased since 2000. And Mr. Forde tries to blame a robbery in 1984 for not including these and other properties in the IRC accounts. This is outrageous misrepresentation of facts and hopefully both Mr. Forde and Mr. O'Callaghan will be held to account for their misleading evidence given in the Dail.

    Its amazing that all those who try to defend Tony Lawlor and his actions and the dysfunction within the Irish Red Cross always end up damaging their own personal and professional reputations. Why they do it is a mystery but if you foolishly defend the indefensible you will eventually pay a very high price.

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  20. Anonymous8:53 AM

    St. Valentine's Day was marked in the Dail by another 4 parliamentary questions being asked about the Irish Red Cross and its questionable evidence given before the Dail's Public Accounts Committee.

    A question was also raised about the inappropriateness of tony lawlor, national vice chairman and ted noonan, Treasurer, having such long board service. The Minister is obviously in agreement and he has repeatedly stated he is firmly against long service.

    The Minister (Shatter) indicated that the Dail Public Accounts Committee can re-investigate the evidence given by the IRC if it so chooses. Lets hope it does because anybody who gives incorrect evidence before the Dail needs to be held to account.

    The questions and the Ministers answers can be read on the link below:

    http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2012-02-14.2017.0

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  21. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Good comment above - since when would the masked robber think that deeds for donated property would be in any way convertible? Have the Dublin mask wearers lost their elgin marbles or is it some kind of Lawler joke?

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  22. Anonymous12:33 PM

    Interesting to read the press release by Mr Lawlor in the Nationalist of the 27 July 2010:
    “Mr Lawlor said that the administrative error, which resulted in a sum of money donated to the tsunami relief fund remaining unused in a Red Cross account in Tipperary, was discussed and reviewed by senior management, the Red Cross finance committee and the Board at the time.
    "It was clearly established that this was simply an oversight and the funds were immediately used in the comprehensive 5-year relief programme to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the tsunami. Since then the Irish Red Cross has seen fit to reappoint me as Vice Chairman and I am honoured to serve in this position and will continue to do so with commitment and integrity," he said".

    http://www.nationalist.ie/news/local/tipp_tsunami_aid_remained_unspent_for_three_years_1_2253771

    Would classify the above as priceless.

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  23. Anonymous4:10 AM

    In recent correspondences to the members of the Central Council I would like to note the absense of any response to date. The Chairman Mr Callaghan told the PAC that the Society is based on the principles of democracy, most members of the Irish Red Cross are of the opinion that this organisation is autocratic.

    I wrote to the Council and Secretary General with regard to the failure of the Society to afford rights proteted by the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, this also included a breach of rights protected in the European charter on Human Rights.

    It is worthy to note taht not single memebr of the Central Council has reponded, nor has the Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross. The Secretary General did give an indication that the correspondence was received on the 4th January 2012, but no response has been forthcoming.

    Perhaps the new Governance promised within the Irish Red Cross is like the regime in Libya where one authoratarian regime is replaced with another.


    Gerard Moyne
    Life Member
    Irish Red Cross Society

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  24. Anonymous5:34 PM

    Mr Moyne,

    I note as a central council rep you have never contacted me. Your communication list is very out dated. That said, I do not want you to communicate with me and I would assume that the council members do not want to communicate with you either. There is no one stopping council members from replying to you.

    Maybe the lack of response should indicate something to you!!!!

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  25. Anonymous12:33 AM

    Given that the Irish Red Cross has and appears to be taking a journey into the World of fabrication and deceit, for the purpose of gaiing finance from unsuspecting donars. It it really worth saving?

    Is this organisation like many others worthy of the effort to change it. I no longer donate to the Irish Red Cross nor will I in the future. If I get the opportunity I will castigate it, for its involvement in acts against the Principles for which its Global brothers stand.

    This is a typical Irish charity which has been shown as unworthy of trust.

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  26. Anonymous4:12 AM

    Quote from above commenter:

    "I note as a central council rep you have never contacted me. Your communication list is very out dated. That said, I do not want you to communicate with me and I would assume that the council members do not want to communicate with you either. There is no one stopping council members from replying to you.

    Maybe the lack of response should indicate something to you!!!!" END QUOTE

    I sincerely hope this is a joke. If this comment is indeed from a Central Council Member then absolutely everything that the critics and advocates for change have been fighting to have exposed is summed up in that very one comment. The arrogance, contempt and disrespect flowing from that statement is shocking.
    Any other organisation and I would assume it is a joke, but this is the Irish Red Cross and this kind of behaviour is absolutely par for the course.

    In response to a separate comment asking whether the Irish Red Cross is worth saving, my own view is it is absolutely worth saving. I fully understand why the question would be asked, more than 20 years of despicable behaviour would naturally lead to that question.
    However this blog and its many many many supporters have continuously fought to expose the endless incompetence and negligence at the IRC for the one simple reason and that is that the Red Cross Movement is an organisation based on seven fundamental principles all of which have stood the test of time and marked the Red Cross Movement as one of the greatest humanitarian organisations in history and today. The Irish Red Cross has simply lost its way and no longer follows or adheres to these principles. It has been led off track in a deliberate and destructive manner. It can indeed be saved and brought back on track. In fact the route to getting back on track has been clearly mapped,the organisation just needs to wake up and read the map. Even the TD's in the Public Accounts Committee clearly saw the way to get back on track and alluded to it in no uncertain terms.

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  27. Anonymous5:01 AM

    The Central Council reps' response to Mr Moyne is indicative of the arrogant and un-reachable people who give a facade of respectability to Irish Red Cross Society.
    Why would anyone on Central Council defend the lack of response to any member of the public never mind to someone who has contributed much through IHL and other ways to help humanity?
    It is odd that a Central Council member would not wish to address concerns raised so that they could either correct or defend the issues addressed.
    Previous requests for IRC to hold public meetings to correct or defend the many criticisms of their governance and management have all been rejected.
    Perhaps it is time to bring IRC down and abandon the reasonable requests that they re-organise.
    When the poor suffer as a result of reasonableness, perhaps it is time to become more militant.

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  28. Anonymous6:44 AM

    I read the Tipperary Nationalist newspaper article referred to in one of the above comments and its clear that Tony Lawlor's statements to the media contradict Irish Red Cross evidence given in the Dail on 19th January. What's interesting is that Lawlor's statements to the Nationalist are false as was Irish Red Cross evidence to the Dail, this despite contradicting each other.

    Lets hope the upcoming Central Council meeting on 10th March 2012 deals with these issues and demands explanations as well as the removal of Tony Lawlor and Ted Noonan as Vice Chairman and Treasurer respectively. Question marks also hang over the suitability of Donal Forde and David O' Callaghan as Secretary General and Chairman following their 'evidence' to the Dail.

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  29. Anonymous6:53 AM

    Good to see parliamentary questions continue to be asked in the Dail about the Irish Red Cross. Keep it up whoever is organising these. Pressure on Irish Red Cross can never be eased until sweeping changes are made to its leaderships.

    Link to PQs:

    http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2012/02/14/member1822.asp

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  30. Anonymous8:00 AM

    Dear CC Rep.

    I am so glad to hear that at least you read this Blog.
    What other way would you have of finding out what is going on. Might I also ask who are you representing with your "Don't contact me"?

    This is the very structure of poor Governance that this Blog was set up to address. So if you are a CC rep. I gather you have not garnered your response from those whom you represent, of should I say don't.

    "Don't contact me". This is the Irish Red Cross in a nutshell. They are arrogant conceited and a dinosaur. This is the type of response the victims of clerical abuse got for years. Don’t contact us.

    You should be ashamed of yourself. Then again you are probably one of those who celebrated taking 600k out of the Haiti Appeal and tried to hide the Tsunami money.

    A typical response from someone who only represents themselves.

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  31. Anonymous1:11 PM

    That CC so called representative is what we can expect from a so called representative. Twice a year for lunch makes you what exactly?

    Ireland is full of representatives who sit on Boards of organisations who are about as useful to the organisation as a door with no hinges. They flaunt the fact that they are representatives, but what is it they do? The real people who run the Irish Red Cross , like Tony Lawlor don't trust them so that is why they know so little.

    He showed how powerless they are when he could hide 162k in a secret bank account and not a single one of them was able to touch him, even though he clearly broke the rules of the Society, by not filing Branch returns for years.

    A crown of wimps. That is why Mr Moyne you don't get a response, they don't know how!

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  32. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Does anyone know the venue for the CC meeting on the 10th March?

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  33. Anonymous2:35 PM

    I guess the CC meeting will be held in the usual spot the Alexander Hotel.

    Is there anyone who would like to attend and show this crowd that they are not who they think they are?

    I know Gerard Moyne and Mary Cullivan have demonstrated at the last three meetings. At least they have the courage of their convictions.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:12 AM

      Will try to make it.

      Delete
  34. Anonymous12:38 AM

    I see from the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee website that the letter and information sent in by Irish Red Cross on the 2nd February contains interesting information. The list of 49 bank accounts is one. The date of the balances in these accounts on the list is 26th March 2009. This means the Tipperary tsunami money was still sitting in the Tipperary bank account nearly one year after it was discovered in 2008. Why was the money still in the Tipperary bank account one year after its discovery? Why wasnt this money transfered to Dublin immediately?

    More questions and more proof that alot of Irish Red Cross evidence to the Dail was false.

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  35. Anonymous9:10 AM

    Interesting comment above about the Tipperary bank account money sitting in the Tipperary account for another year after it was discovered. Strange that the Irish Red Cross would admit to this in their documents sent to PAC but give totally contradictory information during the hearing itself. Only the Irish Red Cross would do this and think nobody would notice it.

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  36. Anonymous5:57 AM

    Check out the Dail Public Accounts Committee website!

    A letter from the former Irish Red Cross board member, Jennifer Bulbulia, rejecting the evidence given by Donal Forde at the PAC hearing on the 19th January has been published. It makes for fascinating reading and exposes for all to see the misleading evidence given by the Irish Red Cross at the Dail hearing.

    Also on the PAC website is the reply sent to the PAC by Donal Forde in direct response to Jennifer Bulbulia's letter to PAC and Noel Wardick's letter to PAC. There is some serious backtracking being done by Donal Forde and the sound of stable doors slamming shut is there for all to hear!!!

    I'd say Irish Red Cross is in a state of total panic over their evidence and the professional reputations of a number of people (the three who attended the PAC and possibility the fourth person who sat at the back) is now on the line. Mr. Forde has been forced to admit mistakes and forced to apologise for some of the "inaccuracies" in his evidence. This has exposed a damning failure on his part and on those who advised him.

    Once again when the light is shone on the Irish Red Cross they have been caught giving incorrect evidence and have been found seriously found wanting. Of course nobody will be surprised at this and nobody will be held to account as this is what the Irish Red Cross always does and always they get away with it. But its equally important that they are always exposed and that they are always caught. Well done to Wardick, Bulbulia and Moyne for writing to PAC and putting the record straight. I hope the Blog does a detailed article on this as soon as possible as people (the public and Irish Red Cross volunteers and members) need to know what their leaders are doing in their name.

    Yes definitely panic stations in Merrion Square. Mr. Forde's letter reads like a pleading 'please dont blame me I wasnt around at the time and neither were my two colleagues Ryan and O'Callaghan and now we are seriously trying to cover our arses after we messed up at the PAC hearing'. Forde obviously didnt say that in the letter but that's how it reads to me. The famous excuse 'I know nothing' comes to mind....!

    Perhaps Forde and Co will now learn the painful way that defending the indefensible is a very very bad idea. And the days of getting away with it are over.

    Another disaster for the Irish Red Cross board and senior management. Exposed once again. And as for the pathetic plea to the PAC to perhaps stop investigating the Irish Red Cross and leave them alone is another disgraceful attempt by the Irish Red Cross to avoid been held to account. No shame. When will it ever end?

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  37. Anonymous4:56 AM

    The Past has everything to do with the future.

    Reference to letter to the Public Accounts Committee of Dáil Éireann by Mr D Forde CEO of Irish Red Cross.

    Officials of the Irish Red Cross provided the PAC with their defence of the serious issues of maladministration and then when that defence is shown up for its inaccuracies, they say none o f them was with the organisation at the time. What a cop-out?
    Of course the deputation could have included an IRC official Mr Lawlor who was a signatory to the hidden Tipperary Bank A/c but he was conspicuous by his absence. Again another piece of subterfuge to ensure that the truth would not out.
    Mr Forde CEO now claims he and other officials were not prepared for the forensic questioning by the PAC. If that was his situation he should not have tried to bluff it out with such detailed answers as he later has to withdraw.
    Instead he took an assured defensive position which says everything we need to know about the current Irish Red Cross – not concerned about the truth today or in getting to the truth of what went on in the past.
    Why does Mr Forde not find it surprising that many would not accept the findings of the “Investigative Team”? It is not because of an inadequate process but because he knows that the findings are incomplete at best and inaccurate at worst.
    Minutes of meetings did not of course mention the Tipperary Bank A/c because there was a cover-up in process and the signatories of the Tipperary A/c know why.
    Mr Lawlor knows very well why the bank a/c was kept hidden yet he remains in office – what a disgrace?


    The PAC did indeed offer an opportunity to own up to the failings of the past as Mr Forde graciously said however he and his deputation abused the privilege by circumventing the truth. He explained that it had not been possible to offer a definitive account because of conflicting accounts provided by those involved. Yet in the PAC meeting, Mr Forde was very specific in his answers and stated in his subsequent letter to the PAC that he stood by everything he had said. In contradiction of that he has now withdraw some of his statements as challenged.


    So the past is the past is the new mantra of the Irish Red Cross. That will not wash in today’s society where even the Catholic Church is held to account forensically for its past misconduct.
    Mr Forde asks for an end to questioning of what went on as if it is irrelevant to the changes necessary. There is no way the IRC can be reformed without finding out the truth, correcting the mismanagement or corruption and exposing those responsible for what has gone on to bring this disrepute to Irish Red Cross and the greater International Movement.

    How could the public trust that “great strides have been made” in improving governance and management of Irish Red Cross when those in charge want us to accept that integrity issues have been dealt with while telling us it’s not possible to know the truth of those issue in the first place?

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  38. Anonymous12:16 PM

    So those who said that Donal Forde would give a repeat performance of his PAC act on behalf of AIB, were fairly close to the mark. This man purports to be a professional and yet he is willing to risk his good name and integrity on behalf of, now the Red Cross. He was so sure of his account of facts at the PAC on the 19th January and now that these facts have been found not be as factual as one fully expected he now seeks to aplogise in a half hearted way. It is usual in respect to those that get caught, that they are always sorry, sorry that they got caught. Mr Fordes evidence and that of Mr O Callaghan should be struck from the public record as being unreliable. Mr O Callaghan has not apologised as yet, but no doubt given some of the facts which will appear in the coming weeks he will crawl on his belly also asking for forgiveness. Wake up Red Cross and get rid of all these hangers on

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  39. Anonymous12:33 PM

    Mr. Forde has been found out. He gave evidence in the Dail which was designed to continue the cover up of what has happened within the Irish Red Cross.

    He was challenged, found out and panicked. He was forced to apologise to the PAC and admit that Jennifer Bulbulia and Noel Wardick's position is most probably the correct version and that their assertions have validity and may be relevant.

    It is a mystery that only Donal Forde will know the answer to as to why he has risked his own personal and professional reputation to protect those who covered up a terrible wrong and those who are guilty of the wrong. Those people will never thank Forde for taking the risk to protect them and in so doing damaging his own reputation. The naivety of Mr. Forde is astonishing.

    Mr. Forde gave evidence before PAC when he was running AIB. Serious questions have been asked about the veracity of that evidence. Now he has given evidence in his role as Secretary General of Irish Red Cross. Once again questions have been asked about the truthfulness and accuracy of his evidence. This time, unlike with AIB, he has been forced to write an apology to the Oireachtas and admit he doesnt know the facts about what happened. On 19th January during the hearing he never admitted this and purported to give factual evidence. Now that he has been exposed he is in full scale reverse trying to cover his tracks.

    Mr. Forde has severely damaged his reputation in his willingness to protect people who he should be removing from the Irish Red Cross. In doing so he has been forced to apologise to the Dail's PAC and plead that he did not intentionally mislead the TDs.

    Mr. Forde runs the risk of becoming just another employee statistic of the Irish Red Cross who crashed on its rocks. Once there are question marks raised about your reputation it is very hard to recover. Mr Forde has made huge and grave errors of judgement, ones from which he will have great difficulty in recovering from.

    Perhaps though Mr. Forde will sleep well at night knowing that by sacrificing his own reputation he has protected those ultimately responsible for the mess at the Irish Red Cross. Lets hope they at least pat Mr. Forde on the back for doing so.

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  40. Anonymous9:32 AM

    Is there no end to the shame the Irish Red Cross is bringing down upon itself?

    Now it has been exposed once again and forced to apologise to the Dail and the Public Accounts Committee. In all honesty is there something wrong with the members of the IRC Central Council and Executive Committee that they allow these shameful incidents continue unabated? No other organisation would ever tolerate such behavior. The cover up regarding the Tipperary account never mind the Haiti money and the property issue is so blatant that surely at least one governance member at the Irish Red Cross has the backbone to speak up and demand resignations.

    Do Irish Red Cross Central Council members and Executive Committee members have even the remotest understanding of the low regard the Society is held across Irish media and across all political parties? As an IRC member I keep hearing the words 'basket case' everytime someone describes the Society. After the Public Accounts Committee fiasco and giving of false evidence Im inclined to agree.

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