Saturday, March 31, 2012

Irish Red Cross evidence to Parliamentary Committee continues to be challenged

On 16th March 2012 Noel Wardick, former Head of the International Department at the Irish Red Cross, continued to challenge evidence the Irish Red Cross provided to the Dail's Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the 19th January 2012 and in subsequent letters it sent to the PAC. Mr. Wardick's letter is published in its entirety below.

On a separate matter the position of Chairperson at the Irish Red Cross becomes vacant in April. For the first time in the Society's history the incoming Chairperson will not be appointed by the Irish Government but instead will be appointed by the Central Council (governing board of the Irish Red Cross).

The Irish Red Cross has established a five person Nominations Committee (3 from the Executive Committee and 2 from the Central Council) which is tasked with identifying a number of suitably qualified candidates. Once identified the role of the Nominations Committee is to recommend a number of names to the Central Council who will then vote to determine who is appointed Chair for the next three years.

As is the norm with the Irish Red Cross the new process of appointing the Chairperson is shrouded in secrecy and distinctly lacking in transparency. The names of the Nomination Committee have not been forwarded to all members and volunteers and the process for submitting applications to the Nominations Committee has not yet been outlined or articulated. No information on the matter is available on the Society's website. Could it be that the ruling elite of the Irish Red Cross already know who the new Chairperson will be and as such are not actively seeking applications? Is someone about to be 'crowned' Chairperson as opposed to being genuinely, openly and transparently elected?

The appointment of a Chairperson in April/May of this year presents the Irish Red Cross with the perfect opportunity to begin the process of true reform and renewal. Should an individual of real independence, capability, integrity, professionalism, courage, energy and competence be appointed the Society will have taken a great leap forward in rebuilding its tarnished reputation.

In addition to the Chairperson the positions of Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary also become vacant in April and it is critical for the Society that all three incumbents are replaced. The current Treasurer and Secretary are government nominees appointed by the former and now disgraced Fianna Fail government. It is unlikely either will feature in Minister Shatter's four appointments to the Central Council. All other positions on the Executive Committee become vacant in April and as such members of the Central Council have an opportunity to replace the jaded, staid and ineffective group currently in place. The re-appointment of incumbents will only serve to consign the Irish Red Cross to endless years of under performance, stagnation and reduced funding.

March 31st sees the closing date for applications for the newly created voluntary position of National Director of Units (NDU). All branches have previously been served with application forms, a detailed job description and submission procedures. The NDU will automatically have a seat on Central Council thereby making the individual eligible for election to Executive Committee. It can only be hoped the person appointed will be capable, independent and not a crony of the current leadership. Fresh blood, vigor and new ideas are required. The Blog concurs with the many comments that were posted advocating the appointment of a female NDU in order to address the inexcusable gender imbalance within the governance of the Society. Should a female candidate be appointed it is, however, of critical importance that the individual not be one of the current power obsessed cabal that control the Society. The same applies to the appointment of the new Chairperson.

Noel Wardick's letter to PAC follows:

16th March 2012

Mr. John McGuinness TD,

Chairman,

Public Accounts Committee,

Leinster House,

Kildare Street,

Dublin 2.

Dear Chairman,

Reference previous correspondence from me to the PAC, in particular my letter of 25th February 2012 and the letter from the Irish Red Cross, of 14th March 2012, signed by Mr. Donal Forde, Secretary General.

I wish to make a number of important observations and comments on IRC’s letter which are necessary once again to ensure inaccuracies are corrected and to ensure the public record contains correct and exact information.

I am, however, conscious that the PAC has already invested a considerable amount of time on examining the situation at the Irish Red Cross and I am anxious to avoid overburdening the Committee with an endless series of ‘he said, she said’ correspondence. Nevertheless this is a matter of public interest as it involves an organisation in receipt of substantial monies from the Government and from the Irish public. I believe the public record must record the facts and where attempts are made to distort such facts the public record must be protected and those facts stated on public record and done so numerous times if necessary.

I note from the transcripts of the PAC meeting held on 8th March 2012 that the members are considering inviting a number of individuals before the Committee who have not appeared before it to-date. This is a most welcome development and once again I state my willingness to appear and be questioned on public record. More importantly I also note the PAC would appear to have determined that the best way of getting the answers it and the general public require is to have the Irish Red Cross independently investigated. I and others have advocated for a long time that a full independent investigation into the Irish Red Cross is required and that until such an investigation is held the Irish Red Cross will remain mired in secrecy and controversy. An independent investigation, chaired by an individual of the highest calibre, integrity and repute with no past or current connection whatsoever to either the Irish Red Cross, the International Red Cross or the Department of Defence, is the only way the true facts will emerge. Such an investigation, if properly implemented with a focus on true accountability, putting the facts on public record, and mapping a way forward would have real potential to bring years of turmoil, misgovernance and dysfunction at the Society to an end.

It is important to note that in the last number of years there have been numerous calls for an independent investigation into the Irish Red Cross. Such calls have been made at varying times by Fine Gael, Labour, Independents and Transparency International. In addition the Comptroller and Auditor General has examined financial irregularities at the Irish Red Cross and allocated a full chapter (32) to the Society in his 2010 Annual Report. Necessary reform of the Society was included in the Fine Gael and Labour 2011 election manifestos and is clearly stated as a policy objective in the Coalition’s Program for Government. The Society was investigated by RTE’s Prime Time in August 2010, there has been hundreds of Parliamentary Questions from parties of every hue and colour and the Society has been the subject of two full PAC hearings and discussed at subsequent hearings. As such the PAC joins a long list of individuals, groups and organisations that are deeply concerned about what is happening at the Irish Red Cross. The decision by PAC to consider the need for an independent investigation is therefore welcome and timely. Its findings will also hopefully serve as a road map to a much desired and wished for recovery.

In relation to the Irish Red Cross (IRC) letter of 14th March 2012 to PAC I wish to put the following on public record:

What is most striking about the IRC letter is the absence of commentary on a number of key points which I made in my letter of 25th February 2012. I think the silence of IRC on these issues is more revealing than their denials and statements on other issues.

In relation to the Tipperary Tsunami Bank account IRC states “We do not wish to comment further on the Tipperary account references at this point”. Given that IRC gave incorrect, false and inaccurate information to the Dail Public Accounts Committee on this issue and given that the Chairman of the PAC, at the meeting of 8th March 2012, stated in relation to IRC “We need to review this correspondence on the Red Cross because, among other issues raised, the Committee may have been misled” it is probably unsurprising that IRC wishes to disengage discussion on this matter. It is in their interests to do so but contrary to the interests of the Irish public.

I stand over all my previous correspondence submitted to PAC on the Tipperary Bank Account.

In relation to the undisclosed Banagher Branch bank account the IRC appears to miss the point completely. In my submission to PAC I referred to the €8,058 as an overdraft. IRC explain in their recent letter to PAC this was a term loan and not an overdraft. This is pedantic irrelevance by IRC. An overdraft is a short term loan and a term loan a longer one. That is not the point. The issue is that the Banagher branch failed to declare this bank account to IRC Head Office as per IRC Financial Policy. The Banagher account was one of 49 undisclosed bank accounts discovered in early 2008. The fact that the Banagher branch took out a term loan of €8,058 and did not declare the account to head office until a secret audit discovered it would be a matter of serious concern in any well functioning organisation. When IRC states in its letter “Banagher Branch was not in breach of any IRC policies as Mr. Wardick has suggested” they are simply incorrect. Not declaring a bank account (and one with a loan on it) is a serious breach of IRC policy. It is therefore important to know who were the signatories of this account, were any of them members of IRC governance and what action if any was taken for this breach of policy.

In their letter IRC have a full section on Financial Accounts of the Society. I do not intend to repeat at length what I have stated in detail in previous submissions other than to state that I stand over everything previously submitted. In their most recent letter IRC, once again, fails to address the FACT that as an organisation IRC has never once in its 72 history conducted a full organisational wide external audit as they are OBLIGED to do under their own Rules of the Society. The IRC is in breach of its own rules by restricting its annual audit to its head office only. By doing so its 145 Branches, 26 Areas and 4 Regions, which have millions of Euros of publicly donated money on their books, have never been formally externally audited and consolidated into one set of national Irish Red Cross accounts. It is inexplicable that an organisation would not be externally audited in its entirety. IRC’s auditors, who are the subject of an investigation by the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board (CARB) because of their handling of the IRC audit, have confirmed in writing that the IRC is in breach of its own rules by not conducting a full organisational wide audit. This can be provided to PAC if required.

In relation to the satisfaction or otherwise of the auditors vis a vis IRC accounts I refer again to the statement by the IRC Secretary General at the 19th January 2012 PAC hearing where he stated the auditors were “unconditionally and absolutely” satisfied with the Society. Any examination of the management letters written by the auditors, BDO, over the last number of years, which the Comptroller and Auditor General also referenced in his 2010 annual report, would clearly contradict this view. Very serious concerns were raised by the auditors in these letters. I would also make the point that the list of discredited audit reports that have materialised in Ireland and overseas in recent years raise serious questions about the reliability of any audit statement that says ‘a true and fair’ view. As an example I have no doubt the audit report of AIB in 2007, 2008 etc presented the bank’s accounts as ‘true and fair’ but despite this the actual reality of spectacular mismanagement, greed and incompetence was not revealed, disclosed or referenced. As we now know AIB had to be bailed out to the tune of billions of Euros by the Irish taxpayer in order to prevent a systemic collapse of the Irish banking system. Other notable examples of companies that received a ‘true and fair’ statement from their auditors include Enron, Lehman Brothers, Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Nationwide etc etc, all now bust. In addition and to demonstrate the point that audited accounts of organisations are no longer considered sufficiently reliable when determining the overall financial health and capacity of an organisation Irish Aid, as part of its funding application process, requests copies of both audited accounts AND auditors management letters.

The Irish Red Cross accepts that it does not prepare its accounts based on the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) for Charities. Addressing this has been long overdue and the failure to implement SORP reflects poorly on the financial capacity of the Society. It is now standard practice for charities to prepare their accounts in compliance with SORP and many Irish charities have been doing so for years. The Irish Red Cross has been in breach of SORP in relation to its property portfolio because of its failure to disclose the majority of its properties in its financial statements. This breach is recorded and noted in the externally audited accounts which IRC continually reminds us are a “true and fair” view of the Society. In addition the Irish Red Cross has been a recipient of Irish Aid funding over a number of years. It is my understanding, and I stand corrected if I am wrong, that recipients of Irish Aid funding must prepare their accounts according to SORP standards.

Regarding the Haiti earthquake appeal the IRC continues to insist they did not incorrectly allocate over €600,000 to their general domestic fund instead of the Haiti appeal. As Head of the International Department of the Irish Red Cross at the time I stand over my claim that they did. It was morally and ethically wrong of Irish Red Cross to do so. The IRC letter states that “our unattributable donors are systematically challenged to establish their wishes or preferences and monies that remain unattributable to a specific cause are then allocated to an unrestricted fund”. If in issuing this statement IRC is implying that during the Haiti earthquake appeal donors who contributed unspecified income were “systematically” contacted to determine where exactly they wished their money to be allocated to I can state categorically they were not. Given the hundreds and thousands of small unspecified donations that come into the IRC during a major international disaster contacting individual donors would simply not be possible. The IRC has not done so during such appeals and any implication that they have is false.

It is also important to restate what I said about the General domestic fund, to which IRC allocates all unspecified donations. I stated in a previous submission to PAC that “The balance was...put into the General domestic account where it can be used for a variety of purposes including administration and general overheads”. It is clear from this statement I did not claim that the money is solely used for ‘administration and general overheads’. The important point is that the money is used solely for domestic purposes when in fact such monies were intended by donors for overseas appeals.

In relation to the specific figures I provided PAC outlining monies allocated to the General domestic fund and raised during the Haiti appeal I stand over these figures. The information on which the figures are based was provided to me while I was employed by the Irish Red Cross by two members of the senior management team at the time. I will not name them in this correspondence but am prepared to do so along with their positions if specifically requested by the PAC. I will also share such information with any independent investigation should one be established.

In their attempts to reject my assertions IRC in fact prove my point that the General Fund is a domestic only fund where overseas appeal money should never be allocated as once done it never gets spent on overseas activities. The list of activities provided by IRC outlining which activities the General fund is spent on prove my point exactly that the fund is “a domestic account used for a variety of expenditures including administration and overheads”. Most of the activities listed such as youth programming, community services etc are provided by volunteers free of charge and as such related costs are in fact primarily administration, overheads and salaries. It is also very important to point out that the annual fee paid to the International Committee of the International Red Cross (ICRC) is paid from the Government’s grant in aid and the contribution to the IFRC is an annual administrative membership fee that goes to an administrative IFRC account. It is misleading by IRC to give the impression that this therefore proves the General Fund is somehow used for international activities when it is not. At no stage during my employment with IRC did the Society allocate any money from the General Fund to international activities. No General Funds monies are spent on overseas staff or programs or activities and they never have been. And therein lies the problem because overseas monies have been allocated in their millions to the General Fund. No amount of denials by IRC changes the fact that millions of Euros of publicly donated money for overseas disaster appeals was NEVER sent overseas. This is a practice that has gone on for twenty years. I look forward to the independent investigation verifying this.

In relation to the issue of a legacy donation in 2010 I recommended an investigation to determine the veracity of the donation. No allegation was made by me so therefore IRC’s rejection of my ‘allegation’ is totally unnecessary. A call for a matter to be examined is not an allegation so to say it is “untrue” as IRC does is meaningless. It would, however, be important to determine how this legacy was spent. During my time as a senior manager all legacies were spent covering domestic expenses and activities unless the donor specifically restricted the donation. No ‘unrestricted’ legacy received during Oct 2005-Nov 2010 was ever used on overseas programming as the IRC would not permit such money to be spent on its overseas activities. I sincerely doubt that those families who made such legacies to the IRC were ever made aware of this.

In relation to IRC properties I do not intend to re-iterate the extensive correspondence submitted to PAC to date except to say that I stand everything previously stated. The facts on the undisclosed IRC property portfolio over an extensive period of time in breach of accounting practice speak for themselves as do the auditor’s notes in the IRC accounts which couldn’t be any clearer. It is also important to note that the first time a list of IRC properties was ever made known to board members was when the list was submitted to the PAC on 2nd February 2012 following a request from PAC members. IRC has been under pressure to address the property issue since 1992. Without concerted pressure in recent years from former staff and former board members as well as the media and politicians including members of PAC and the exposure of numerous scandals within the Society it’s questionable whether the matter would ever have been addressed satisfactorily.

The IRC letter makes a remarkable statement regarding various drafts and texts of the new IRC Constitution, a statement which clearly proves the undemocratic nature of the organisation and the presumption of power, unilateral decision making and control that exists amongst those at the top of the Society.

In previous correspondence to the PAC I outlined the reasons why the supposed 3 year mandatory break (after six years on the board) was not in fact 100% mandatory because the IRC Constitution only made it mandatory if another person went forward for the position. If no-one else went forward then the incumbent could serve for a third three year term and so on indefinitely so long as no-one else went forward. The Constitution with this clause in it was approved and endorsed by the IRC Central Council on 28th May 2011[1]. No other individual, group or committee within the IRC has the authority to amend or reword the constitution once approved other than another vote of the Central Council. However, the IRC letter of 14th March 2012 clearly admits that the wording of the constitution as approved by the Central Council on 28th May 2011 was changed in August 2011. The IRC letter states “the clause to which he (Noel Wardick) refers was in an earlier draft and was removed in August last year (2011)”. Under IRC laws and regulations and under the legislation that underpin them there is no authority to alter the wording of the approved constitution other than by a vote of the Central Council. No Central Council meeting took place in August 2011 and therefore no vote took place by the Central Council to remove such a clause. No such vote took place at the December 2011 Central Council meeting. Therefore whoever claims to have altered the wording of the constitution in the absence of a vote by Central Council clearly acted ultra vires and as such this means the removal of the clause was null and void. Therefore statements issued by IRC during the PAC hearing of 19th January 2012 in response to a question asked by Deputy Eoghan Murphy, Fine Gael, WERE false and inaccurate.

On 10th March 2012 the Central Council of the IRC convened. Once again a reworded constitutional text was presented to members whereby the three year mandatory break was amended for the second time. The revised wording removed the possibility of avoiding the three year break if no-one else presented for the post. As a result a member of the Executive Committee is compelled to step down after serving two 3 year terms regardless of whether someone else is nominated for the post or not. The Central Council voted to accept the revised wording. As such the revised wording came into force for the FIRST time on 10th March 2012. It did not come into force in August 2011 as the authority to make the amendment simply did not exist.

The fact that the IRC letter of 14th March confirms certain individuals believe they have powers to unilaterally alter the constitution of the Society in the absence of Central Council approval is cause for deep and fundamental concern.

The amendment to the constitution which now compels members of the Executive Committee to step down after 6 years with no wriggle room to remain on is a welcome development and is a direct result of lobbying and pressure by a number of individuals. What remains seriously flawed in the new constitution is the absence of any acknowledgement of accumulated service to date or retrospection. As such long serving board members can continue to serve for another six years. In one case, the national vice chairman, this would bring his service to 27 years on the board, making a mockery of all claims to good governance.

The IRC letter also attempts to mistakenly imply that the Society, under the Acting Chairmanship of the Treasurer, Mr. Ted Noonan, willingly, readily and enthusiastically decided to instigate an independent investigation into the Tipperary Tsunami bank account in the last quarter of 2010. The reality is the IRC had covered up the matter since the account was first discovered in March/April 2008 but because of sustained and severely critical media and political pressure including an RTE Prime Time investigation in August 2010 the IRC’s inaction and refusal to investigate became utterly untenable. Under ferocious pressure they caved in and announced in September 2010 that an independent investigation was to commence. The IRC, in its letter of 14th March 2012, uses this to present Mr. Noonan in a favourable light. What the letter neglects to explain is that Mr. Noonan was the Treasurer of the Society at the time (as well as temporary Acting Chair) and from the time of his appointment as Treasurer in June 2009 until fifteen months later he never once sought to examine or have the undeclared Tipperary tsunami account (or the 48 other undeclared accounts) investigated.

Despite ‘announcing’ an independent investigation in September 2010 four weeks later the IRC cancelled the investigation in favour of a highly compromised internal review. Having announced an independent investigation as Acting Chairman and informed all IRC Central Council members, Executive Committee members, Working Group members, Area Secretaries, Branch Secretaries, Regional Directors, Area Directors and all staff in a written memo as well as the national media there is no evidence that Mr. Noonan opposed or sought to prevent the complete reversal of this decision four weeks later.

In Mr. Noonan’s memo of 3rd September 2010 announcing the independent investigation he also stated the following:

To have the communities we seek to serve question our integrity and motives is an insult to everyone in the Irish Red Cross who have given so much of themselves to help others

The above by Mr. Noonan as Acting Chairperson of the IRC is a shocking and revealing insight into the culture and mentality of those who lead the Society. For the IRC to be challenged, questioned or criticised was to them utterly unacceptable, unfathomable and intolerable. Mr. Noonan’s words sent a chilling message to all within the Society....do not question us. Mr. Noonan remains IRC Treasurer to this day.

In the IRC letter of 14th March the Society attempts to discredit my account of what happened regarding the Tipperary bank account but they do so in a manner unbecoming of a Red Cross national society. They cannot provide a single fact that actually proves my account inaccurate but instead they use pejorative and negative language in a ‘standard operating procedure’ widely used by lawyers when trying to damage truth telling witnesses.

In my letter of 25th February 2012 to PAC I noted the following regarding an email I sent in 2008 that clearly disproves evidence given by the IRC at the 19th January PAC hearing:

It is important to note that the email referred to above has been reviewed by the Irish Red Cross Chairman, David O’ Callaghan and therefore he has been fully aware of it since soon after his appointment

In the IRC letter of 14th March the Society makes no reference to the above statement and by doing so it is reasonable to deduce that they do not contest it and thereby accept their account of events relating to the Tipperary account to be inaccurate.

During the PAC hearing the IRC made false and damaging statements about the former Finance Consultant/Acting Head of Finance/Acting Secretary General concerning his role and actions around the Tipperary tsunami bank account. While the Society did not name the individual all those familiar with the IRC know the name of the individual they were referring to. It is critically important that the IRC issue a public apology to the individual concerned as they have wronged his name and character.

The PAC has wisely discussed the necessity of requesting an independent investigation into the affairs of the Irish Red Cross. I stand over my assertions to-date and as stated many times I am prepared to appear on record before the PAC. I am also prepared to stand up in a court of law should that become necessary in the future. I will also cooperate fully with any independent investigation once established.

For too long in Ireland those responsible for wrongdoing have not been held to account. The Irish Red Cross is no exception. A robust investigation with a wide remit led by a person of true independence has the potential to bear witness to the truth. I have no doubt the truth, once established and published, will vindicate those who have suffered at the hands of IRC for insisting on unconditional integrity, competence, good governance, honour and sound financial stewardship.

I believe the request for a truly independent investigation will meet strong resistance as there are powerful, influential and well connected people and at least one government department that would much rather allow ‘sleeping dogs lie’. I can only hope the PAC is not dissuaded from its decisions.

Yours sincerely,

Noel Wardick




[1] It is to be noted that the original text of the constitution to be put before the Central Council only contained a mandatory one year break but 12 days before the Central Council meeting of 28th May 2011 the Minister for Justice & Defence wrote IRC a strongly worded letter outlining what he regarded as good governance and appropriate board tenures. This letter was not shared with Central Council members, in flagrant breach of good governance, but the draft text of the constitution was amended at the last minute to increase the one year mandatory break to a qualified three year mandatory break

34 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:35 AM

    Good to see Noel Wardick get a positive mention in this month's edition of the Village magazine (April 2012), Page 14. Remember it was Village Magazine which first exposed the rot and incompetence at the heart of Irish Red Cross in two extensive articles towards the end of 2009. Those articles even made reference to Tony Lawlor and Des Kavanagh.

    The April 2012 edition has a paragraph on Irish Red Cross and states:

    "Under-audited Red Cross
    The Dail Committee of Public Accounts is contemplating inviting Village hero, Noel Wardick, to contradict evidence it heard from the Irish Red Cross (IRC), led by former AIB MD, Donal Forde. Wardick claims the IRC's Central Council members should rotate and that funds for the Haiti appeal in 2010 were misallocated. He is scathing of the IRC's failure to audit its branches."

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  2. Anonymous10:50 AM

    Hopefully by June this year Irish Red Cross will have a new Chairperson, a new Vice Chair, a new Secretary and a new Treasurer as well as a bunch of new people on the Executive Committee. If that happens along with a well qualified non-crony National Director of Units there might be a good chance Irish Red Cross can recover from the shambles its in at the moment. Im not a betting man but if I was I wouldnt be putting much money on a change in personnel though. Too many self important self centred egos full of themselves to ever do the right thing and step down.

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  3. Anonymous7:38 AM

    Great letter above by Noel Wardick and similar to his other ones to the Public Accounts Committee where he destroys the spin and deceit put forward by the Irish Red Cross. The more the Irish Red Cross try to reject the claims by Wardick the more foolish they look as they have so badly entangled themselves in their own web of spin and untruths they keep getting caught out and getting exposed. When will they learn that its best to tell the truth and for those who dont their excuses become more and more ridiculous and less and less credible. Look at Bertie Ahern and co who have become national laughing stocks with their lies. Irish Red Cross is going to end up as a byword for foolhardy deceit and spin if it doesnt do the sensible thing and shut up, admit its wrongs, expel those responsible and move forward with a clean sheet.

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  4. Anonymous7:52 AM

    Why doesnt the Irish Red Cross advertise that it is looking for a new Chairperson to take up the position from May 2012? David O' Callaghan's term as a Fianna Fail appointed Chairman ends in April this year. Oxfam Ireland earlier this year advertised in the Irish Times that it wished to bring new people onto its board and requested interested applicants to submit detailed CVs and reasons for their interest as well as their specific qualifications. This was an excellent example of transparent good governance, something entirely absent in Irish Red Cross.

    So if Irish Red Cross is really committed to openness and transparency and even basic governance it will consider posting adverts in the national media announcing that it is looking for a new Chairperson and that applicants should apply to the Nominations Committee (made up of 4 men and 1 woman....3 long term cronies and members of the Executive Committee and 2 from Central Council-one of whom is known to be committed to serious reform and has challenged the Society to get its act together, the other while not a long serving insider is generally quite and has never rocked the boat or challenged the leadership).

    Adverts in the Irish Times and Irish Independent would send out a strong message that Irish Red Cross is trying to get on the road to reform and is seeking a qualified Chairperson to lead the process. Take the lead from excellent and reputable organisations like Oxfam Ireland and for once Irish Red Cross do the right thing.

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  5. Anonymous8:41 AM

    The Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) briefly discussed the Irish Red Cross at its meeting of 29th March 2012. It would appear that the PAC will formally discuss in a private meeting the Irish Red Cross situation and determine a set of recommendations/determinations on 19th April. The exact minutes are below:


    Business of Committee

    Thursday, 29 March 2012


    Document 3.5 is correspondence dated 16 March 2012 from Mr. Noel Wardick, Clontarf, Dublin 3 re the Irish Red Cross, which will be noted. The Secretariat will prepare draft findings and recommendations on the Red Cross for our meeting on 19 April 2012.

    Chairman: The next business is the agenda for Thursday, 19 April, which will be a private meeting. I was hoping we would deal with the Red Cross matter and determine how we will conclude. We must conclude some of these issues

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  6. Anonymous1:16 PM

    To the person above, get a grip of yourself using the name of the Irish Red Cross is such a manner are you for real. It is people like you who bring the Society into disrepute, you have no consideration of reality and I doubt very much if you have any understanding of the true ethos of the Irish Red Cross. What were you thinking of when you dared to use the good name of the Irish Red Cross and the words , new people, specific qualifications,transparent, good governance and finally, 'do the right thing'. What came over you? are you beyond help? do you need medication? Are you really suggesting that any of the above might ever psssibly apply to the Irish Red Cross.

    You need help ! If ex staff of AIB are good enough for the Irish Red Cross then that says it all for me.

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  7. Anonymous1:00 AM

    I support the idea of advertising the vacant Chairman position in the national newspapers. As a member I didnt even know the Chairman's term was ending in April but thats the way when you are a member of Irish Red Cross, kept in the dark. Thank god for this blog where I find out most of my information about the Irish Red Cross. It provides a great service. When I need info on Irish Red Cross I first go to this blog and then I go to the Irish Red Cross website.

    No-one in our branch knew the Chairman's term was up but thanks to the blog now they do and agree it should be advertised and a transparent process put in place to get David O' Callaghan's replacement.

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  8. Anonymous1:42 AM

    So after the 19th April we will know if the Public Accounts Committee is going to recommend an independent investigation into the Irish Red Cross. It would be important they do so. The only problem is they will ask the Department of Defence to organise it and while an independent investigation is long overdue I do not think the Department of Defence can be trusted to set one up properly as they will want to ensure their own reputations do not get entangled up in it and everyone knows that any independent investigation into the Irish Red Cross must include an element of investigation into the role the Department's indifference and inaction contributed to everything. Anyway lets hope the PAC doesnt get cold feet because as Noel Wardick's letter above says there are alot of high ranking and influential people out there who really really really do not want an investigation into the Irish Red Cross. There are also quite a few low ranking and non influential people who hold power or held power in the tiny fish bowl of Irish Red Cross who will be equally terrified of an independent investigation. Let's hope PAC does wobble at the last minute.

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  9. Anonymous3:52 AM

    The good thing about O Callaghan's tenure with the Red Cross is that he cannot be accused of doing wrong, as despite his account of his actions at the PAC, it has actually come to light that he is actually responsible for very little. Well he does what all good boys do within the Red Cross, make sure he protects Tony Lawlor.

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  10. Anonymous4:32 AM

    Anyone on the inside track of Irish Red Cross knows that regarding the Nominations Committee's role to source suitable candidates for the new Chair of Irish Red Cross that the decision has already been made for them and their job is to rubber stamp it. The current Fianna Fail appointed Chairperson, David O' Callaghan, is a near certainty for the post for the next 3 years. This is why Irish Red Cross has made no effort at advertising the post and why everything remains so secretive and non transparent. And lest we forget O' Callaghan is the man whose first act as Chairman of the Irish Red Cross was to cancel the independent investigation into the Tipperary Tsunami bank account which the Irish Red Cross had announced four weeks before O' Callaghan's appointment and in doing so prevented the truth from being discovered. Ted Noonan, who was Acting Chairman at the time, had written to every branch, area, region and staff as well as informing the media that they were to launch an independent investigation into the Tipperary bank account. But lo and behold O' Callaghan, who formerly headed up the Department of Defence and never did anything to address the problems at the Irish Red Cross during that time, gets appointed, marches in and cancels the investigation. The brave souls on the Executive Committee did what they always do...nod silently in agreement.

    Canceling an independent investigation is so Fianna Fail and O' Callaghan needed to protect the Department of Defence and ensure nothing juicy was discovered. He could never control an independent investigation but he could control any internal one and the results speak for themselves. Not one person held to account for their disgraceful actions and breaches of trust and O' Callaghan singing the praises of Tony Lawlor in the Dail while the Public Accounts Committee listened on incredulous.

    The Nominations Committee has a great chance to source two or three truly external and independent qualified candidates for Chair as well as identify the 3 external Central Council nominees they are entitled to appoint to the Central Council. If they put forward O' Callaghan and nominate 3 other Red Cross insiders who cant get elected onto Central Council via their branches and areas they will have failed miserably in their duties.

    The real problem is four of the Nominations Committee are Yes people. They do what they are told and wouldnt cause a ripple if they fell out of a boat. The pressure is therefore on the one individual who genuinely is determined to see Irish Red Cross reformed and new blood brought in and old blood removed. One in five isnt great odds though.

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  11. Anonymous10:42 AM

    It is important that member national societies of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement are made aware of the indiscretions of the Irish Red Cross as it reflects on the integrity of the whole membership.
    Please join me in writing to all the National Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies to request that they demand that the International Federation of the Red Cross / Crescent (IFRC) take action to support the reorganisation of Irish Red Cross.
    You can find contact email addresses for each country's Red Cross/Crescent on google.
    Irish Red Cross recently attended the General Assembly in Geneva when no doubt they bluffed their way as yet another bonofide member of this great Movement. It is high time that other member National Societies knew of the kind of Red Cross we have to bear here in Ireland.
    Please take a few minutes to help broaden the pressure for change.

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  12. Anonymous9:37 AM

    If the Dail Public Accounts Committee do recommend an independent investigation into the Irish Red Cross then one very important issue that needs examination is the canned beef donation from the Larry Goodman Group to the Irish Red Cross in the 1990s.

    The following questions should be asked and rest assured there are a number of people involved with the Irish Red Cross past and present who will be sweating profusely if such matters are investigated:

    1. What happened to the beef donated by the Goodman firm to Irish Red Cross or via Irish Red Cross?
    2. Why was this donation accepted?
    3. To which countries was this meat transported to?
    4. Who paid for the transport?
    5. How much did it cost to transport?
    6. How was the meat disposed when it was deemed to be unfit for human consumption?
    7. Who within the Irish Red Cross decided to accept this donation and why?
    8. Were there costs involved in disposing of this meat and if so who paid for the disposal?
    9. Where was the meat disposed, which country? Was the disposal supervised by a properly regulated and authorised authority?
    10. Were there any financial transactions between the Irish Red Cross and the Larry Goodman firm and/or with firms wholly or partially owned or connected to Larry Goodman?
    11. Did staff or representatives of Larry Goodman's firm ever meet with Irish Red Cross officials (staff or board members) and if so how many times and why?
    12. Did any benefits accrue to Larry Goodman's firm as a result of making such a donation?

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  13. Anonymous10:59 AM

    There has still been no public vacancy announcement for the Irish Red Cross Chairman. The position becomes vacant on 1st May and nobody seems to know how interested candidates can make their interest known or apply. The usual secrecy and lack of transparency which Irish Red Cross is famous for applies. All the talk of change is hot air it seems.

    The 16 government nominees who have sat on the Irish Red Cross Central Council for the past 3 years will finish their term on 30th April. They were all appointed by the former Fianna Fail/Green government so its unlikely any of them will be seen again on the Central Council unless of course the new Nominations Committee throws three of them a life line and appoints them as the 3 external nominees.

    The 16 people we very sadly and emotionally wave goodbye to are:

    1. Des Kavanagh, Galway
    2. Ted Noonan, Cork
    3. Rory Mac Cabe, Dublin
    4. Scott Keenan, Limerick
    5. Roger Downer, Clare
    6. Christopher Fettes, Offaly
    7. David Lawler, Department of Defence
    8. Ann Marie Flanagan, Clare
    9. Julie Marie Sadlier, Limerick
    10. Sinead Teefy, Limerick
    11. Brendan Bird, Cavan
    12. Paul Foran, Dublin
    13. Julianne Maher, Dublin
    14. Ann Murphy, Dublin
    15. Riostáird O Flaherty, Limerick
    16. Josie Garvey, Limerick

    One third of the nominees above are from Limerick. The Fianna Fail Minister who appointed them, Willie O' Dea is from Limerick. Probably unrelated, a mere coincidence.

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  14. Anonymous3:31 AM

    Im involved with the Irish Red Cross for many years and I never heard the names of 14 of the above 16 central council members and the 2 I did hear of Im very glad to hear they are departing. What did these people do over their 3 year term? The Irish Red Cross has been revealed to be a disgrace at its senior management and governance levels. Its definitely time for those 16 people to ride off into the sunset and not return again

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  15. Anonymous3:44 AM

    A well as asking questions about Larry Goodman beef donations to the Irish Red Cross another interesting question might be to ask whether the current IRC Chairman, David O' Callaghan, is involved in the Public Appointments Service (PAS), the government agency that handles public sector recruitment? Readers may recall that the recruitment of the current Secretary General, Donal Forde, was handled via the PAS despite the Secretary General job not being a public sector appointment. This was very unusual and caused alot of raised eyebrows at the time as to why the PAS would be involved in recruiting a top post for an independent organisation. It set a very bad precedent and compromised the independence of the Irish Red Cross by having a government recruitment agency involved in the recruitment of its Secretary General. Its important the reasons for this are made public. Its very important that the involvement or role of the IRC Chairman in the PAS, if any, is clarified and explained. If he has a role is he paid for this role?
    Why a Public Sector government recruitment agency would be used in a recruitment campaign that ended up hiring the former Managing Director of AIB Ireland following his departure after the bank collapsed to head up the Irish Red Cross remains a deep mystery. Should it transpire that the IRC Chairman is involved in the PAS the mystery will deepen.

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  16. Anonymous9:27 AM

    Is Des Kavanagh the guy from Galway that threatened to take Mr Moyne to court for challenging the authority of Lawlor & Co. I bet he will be well and truly missed ! I remember Des used to travel up to Dublin very often (weekly) to sign cheques when he was Treasurer. I bet he just loved all that travelling, what other reason could he have.

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  17. Anonymous11:42 AM

    C.S. Lewis
    “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

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  18. Anonymous11:00 AM

    As an addendum to the above, the question must be asked who were the other candidates who did not get the job for Secretary General. One of these candidates has extensive experience working for the International Federation of the Red Cross in a seniour management position. This cadidate has applied for the job twice. In a previous applciation he was described by an independent observer as a turly remarkable candidate. So this man does not get the job, yet a guy who was involved in busting one of our National Banks and has given questionable evidence on behalf of this Bank and the Red Cross to the Public Accounts Committee gets the job.

    Can anyone one smell fish ? One must remember O Callaghan tld the PAC that the REd Cross never came to his attention. I can definitely smell something.

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  19. Anonymous12:54 AM

    The Dail Public Accounts Committee is considering whether to request a full independent investigation into the Irish Red Cross. If it does it will consume alot of the time of the Secretary General and others.

    The Dail Public Accounts Committee will shortly commence a detailed investigation into the banking crisis. There has been much comment and coverage in the national newspapers over the last two weeks on this. Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, said the fact that bankers and others responsible for wrecking banks such as Anglo and AIB have not been held accountable is unconscionable. When the Public Accounts Committee hold its investigation into the banks it is likely the Irish Red Cross Secretary General will be high on the list of those questioned given he was the head of AIB Republic of Ireland when the bank collapsed. This will be a further distraction to the Irish Red Cross.

    It would appear with two Public Accounts Committee investigations possible more storm clouds are gathering for the Irish Red Cross.

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  20. Anonymous10:12 AM

    Now that the number of Central Council reps from each Area is determined by the membership numbers in each Area watch very closely membership lists and manipulation of numbers and lists especially where member numbers are close to the various cut off points.

    An independent audit of membership lists should be done every year to prevent the false padding and manipulation of numbers so as to increase the number of CC reps an Area is allowed.

    A comment above said Ted Noonan would be gone for ever because Fianna Fail appointed him and obviously Fine Gael/Labour wouldnt be re-appointing him but he will be back on CC because the Cork Area is now allowed 3 or 4 CC reps and so Ted will surely manage to get himself elected with so many seats available. But a very very close examination of Cork's membership lists should place immediately.

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  21. Anonymous12:15 AM

    The PAC could include in its IRC investigations the case of ambulance purchases and the tendering processes from Tom Hogan Motors Galway (since liquidated) and reported friend of Des Kavanagh. This matter was raised in the Village Magazine in 2009.

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  22. Anonymous12:53 AM

    Even if the PAC do not decide to investigate the Irish Red Cross the issues which relate to its difficulties remain. Not a single word of spin will save it from its failure to deal with the past and present. Recently emails I believe were circultaed to every Branch in the Country, this was the very first time someone was able to distribute some facts about the inside workings of the IRC. No doubt should the IRC itself fail to address the presence of the discredited members of the Executive and Central Council the next emails will be to the people that really matter the Donors. The Donors some of which have already pulled the pin should know the truth they should be directly canvassed about what is happening at the IRC and the waste of money on solicitors and vehicles which sit unused one year to the next. The Donors have a right to know exactly how their money is spent. Will the Red Cross pirk up its ears when its blood line gets blocked. We shall see. The IRC have failed miserably to do the right thing, by calling for an independent investigation, the PAC will decide if they have to be forced into making this decision , ether way it will happen.

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  23. Anonymous1:15 AM

    Interesting comment above about the Irish Red Cross Chairman's possible involvement in the Public Appointments Service. If this is correct it does raise many questions around the appointment of Donal Forde by using the Public Appointments Service for a non public sector job

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  24. Anonymous2:20 PM

    In an email to all branches written by Donal Forde dated 16th April 2012, IRC Secretary General, Mr. Forde has actually denied that that £100,000 Irish pounds was channelled to the Provisional IRA in the early 1970s. Why Mr. Forde has written to 145 branches around the country and engaged in discussion on this deeply shameful episode in IRC history is beyond comprehension.

    Mr. Forde is a brave man to deny the existence of evidence given in the Arms Trial of 1970 and to deny information that is contained in numerous autobiographies of those involved in the Arms Crisis as well as in numerous Parliamentary Questions at the time. Mr. Forde is begining to make a habit of denying fact. No other IRC Secretary General since the 1970s has ever gone on record concerning the transfer of this £100,000 to the Provisional IRA simply because no-one was ever going to deny it when it happened and they also wanted to avoid ever raising the issue again. Mr. Forde has greatly exposed himself on this issue and done so unnecessarily just like he unnecessarily gave incorrect information to the Dail Public Accounts Committee in January 2012 and was forced to apologise in writing to the PAC as a result. Mr. Forde seems to be digging himself into an ever deepening hole and writing to all branches and bringing to light the whole 100k IRA money issue can hardly be described as wise..

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  25. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Mr. Forde, please read the biography on former Taoiseach Jack Lynch which has extensive details about the £100,000 transfered to the Irish Red Cross by Charles Haughy and then transfered onto to the Provisional IRA. It even has details about IRC accounts 1 and 2 in a Baggot Street bank, the accounts which this money was first transfered into before onward forwarding to northern Ireland. Issuing denials on such dangerous and sensitive matters and opening very sore old wounds is really a terribly bad idea.

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  26. Anonymous1:13 AM

    Earlier this week the Government approved the new Irish Red Cross Constitution.

    The positive about the new constitution is that no person can serve more than two 3 year terms in a row on the Executive Committee. This means that it is an absolute certainty that in 6 years time Tony Lawlor and other long serving Executive Committee members will have to step off Executive for 3 years (if they are not removed sooner). This is a massively important development because it means never again in the Irish Red Cross will anyone ever get to dominate and control the Executive Committee for 21 years and more like Lawlor and co. did.

    Congratulations for the above development must go to Noel Wardick and others who have campaigned so hard on this issue. Twice Wardick campaigned with politicians and others to have the draft Constitution amended as IRC made every attempt to minimise the changes to the existing constitution in an attempt to remain in power. Twice Wardick and co succeeded in forcing IRC to make amendments and bring it back to Central Council for approval.

    The negative aspect about the new Constitution is that it breaches good corporate governance because it allows Central Council members serve for life, with no maximum terms of office and no mandatory breaks. This is a poor reflection on IRC as the Central Council (now to be called the General Assembly) is the highest deliberative authority of the Society. People should not be allowed serve for life.

    The other negative is that cumulative service on the Executive to date will not be taken into account so sadly someone on the Executive who has massive service clocked up already such as the Vice Chairman with 21 years will still be allowed serve another 6 years before he has to go. Having someone serve 27 years on a board is the exact opposite of good governance.

    Anyway lets look at the glass half full. This constitution is good going forward and it means the long serving members on Executive who have destroyed the IRC will be forced to step down for at least three years in due course. And thats good news for the Society. During their 3 year absence every attempt should be made to transform the Society deep down and totally dismantle all remanants of their power bases so that if they return after 3 years they never again control and dominate the Society.

    Well done to all those who fought hard for this reform and who suffered as a result. Every victory, especially hard fought ones, are sweet.

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  27. Anonymous4:41 AM

    Understand why Mr Forde feels it necessary that denial of such involvement with the IRA is necessary for the good name of a humanitarian organisation like the Red Cross.
    Would think the credibility of that denial would be suspect unless it came with a chapter and verse refutal of the well documented claims made long before Mr Forde came to know the Red Cross.
    With this and other hot issues of past malpractice and irregularity, it is to be expected that Mr Forde as CEO of the Irish Red Cross will feel it necessary to call a media conference to more fully address the extraordinary situation.
    The Irish Red Cross has a "good news only" media and PR dept but even they will surely advise that communication is a two-way process and that the issuing of written denials will not work.
    The clouds are gathering.

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  28. Anonymous8:48 AM

    The Irish Red Cross Fundraising Manager has written an article, published below, which is quite staggering in its arrogance. Unbelievably for the Red Cross it also implicitly attacks the Irish Catholic Church. This is unprecedented and is a breach of the Red Cross's fundamental Principle of Neutrality. The critisism of the Catholic Church by the Irish Red Cross needs to be withdrawn as otherwise the breach of the Red Cross principles of Neutrality and non-political involvement remains breached indefinitely. The article follows:


    Banning church gate collections
    Posted: April 20, 2012 | Author: Ronan Ryan

    Churches in Cork are to ask parishioners if they want to ban church gate collections as there is a feeling that parishioners are “feeling harassed“. Cork charities are appealing strongly to parishioners to ‘vote no’ when asked.



    Two things strike me. One; it is actually a smart move of the hierarchy involved to ask parishioners directly. It is a strong communications message from an organisation that is not renowned for taking on board others’ opinions on how they should conduct their business. It also cleverly takes the Church out of the firing line of any decision – ‘we asked the people, and the people have spoken’.



    But the real story here is theory of ‘harassment’. People are feeling ‘harassed’ as they walk into mass. Now this may be true, but the problem is someone reporting harassment just carries no credibility. Feeling harassed is an incredibly subjective experience and somebody reporting it second-hand is not the same as someone saying “I feel harassed”. The latter statement lets you engage in dialogue – allows you adjust your behaviour as a fundraiser – allows you to take the person into account as a human being. The former is a rhetorical device that kills the debate. You have nowhere to go. You can’t get to the bottom of it as the person who is acting as the ‘spokesperson’ for the ‘harassed’ clearly can’t divulge confidences, so sits on a higher moral ground of being somehow in the confidence of a vulnerable person or people who they are protecting with great chivalry. It brooks no questioning. It is in fact quite a linguistically violent statement as it comes loaded with blame and puts the ‘harasser’ squarely in the dock as guilty already. In the current economic climate, the extra emotional blackmail of asking ‘hard-pressed’ ‘ordinary people’ in these ‘straightened financial times’, completes the sheer caddishness of anyone who should dare ask people to support causes they generally actually believe in and care about.



    This is akin to the debate on ‘chuggers’ (a derogatory term used to describe charity fundraisers that I personally find de humanizing and factually untrue – it derives from charity muggers). Generally, I find those with the strongest opinions on this are those least likely to give to charity. There seems to be a direct relationship. Try it next time someone gives out about being asked for money or a direct debit. Ask them if they actually honestly, really honestly, give to charity regularly.



    I care deeply about people, as do all fundraisers I know. I’m happy to ask and be asked to support causes that really matter. I am also happy to say no. But I’ve observed that many people feel guilty saying no, or don’t feel comfortable with this, so would prefer not to feel it, and blame the fundraiser for their experience.



    Folks, the bad news is – that the fundraiser didn’t cause your guilt.



    The good news is that there is any easy way to get rid of it. Just give.

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  29. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Dear Ronan,


    I write concerning your article on Banning church gate collections written and published on 20th April 2012.

    What exactly have the views expressed in this article got to do with the Humanitarian Principles of the Red Cross? What have they got to do with the responsibilities of National Societies?

    I am sure the Catholic Hierarchy will be delighted to enter into dialogue with you on this issue and to debate with you their right to defend, protect and represent their followers and those most vulnerable in Society. Are you on behalf of the Irish Red Cross questioning this right?

    As for ‘dehumanising’, please reflect on the historical background of the Irish Red Cross, the court records and all that is in the public domain. Are your comments not somewhat kin to the 'kettle calling the pot black'. You use the phrase “kills the debate”. Surely even you accept that the Irish Red Cross are a master class in “killing debate”. The history of silencing dissent and alternative voices within the Irish Red Cross is second to none so I suggest you refrain from lecturing others on freedom of speech and dialogue.

    As for the statement 'but the problem is someone reporting harassment just carries no credibility', you obviously have not had the pleasure of being searched every day such as the Palestinians living in GAZA or the people who lived during the conflict in the North of Ireland. You have obviously never lived in a refugee camp where you are subject to rape and abuse where to speak out means death and the only hope is that others report on your behalf. Are you suggesting for example that those who spoke out on behalf of abused children in Ireland carry no credibility? Are you suggesting that Human Rights Advocates carry no credibility unless their own human rights have been violated? It is my view that no true genuine humanitarian would ever contemplate issuing the words you did. Your callous attitude is astounding. In one sentence you have insulted every single person and organisation who defends and represents those in Society who, for whatever reason, cannot defend and represent themselves. The fact that you did this in your capacity as a senior manager of the Irish Red Cross is reprehensible.

    It can only be assumed (and hoped) that your article does not have the endorsement of the Irish Red Cross Executive Committee and Central Council. I also feel that your use of language and the holding of such extreme views reveal an attitude utterly incompatible with an employee of a Red Cross national Society. As such you should immediately issue a retraction and an apology. Failing this it is my view that you should tender your resignation with immediate effect.

    You probably have never experienced or witnessed school children standing up against a wall their books strewn on the street, being intimidated at gun point.

    Being strip searched, monitored or as in the case of the people living in Gaza having no vital services such as water and electricity. These feelings are feelings of harassment I can assure you, harassment is not subjective it can be very real. Reporting harassment as you suggest ‘just carries no credibility’, the victims of abuse by clerics might not agree with you. Does your assertion extend to say journalists who report human rights abuses and wrongdoing across the globe? Do their reports and stories “carry no credibility”?

    Published in two parts:

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  30. Anonymous12:32 PM

    So reporting something second hand carries no weight? If I have an elderly parent or I am an advocate for someone are you for one moment suggesting that this voice is less than that of the person. The arrogance displayed in your last three paragraphs is shockingly insulting and displays an appalling attitude to the lifeblood of the Irish Red Cross...your donors.


    So the next time we communicate on behalf of a person who cannot communicate the fact that they do not like being approached, “is a linguistically violent statement” according to your article. I must remember to share this with many of my colleagues who take their intellectually disabled clients every day into town for a walk. I have no doubts that they will not share your views.

    You argue, ‘Generally, I find those with the strongest opinions on this are those least likely to give to charity’. Have you derived this from the donors to the Irish Red Cross? I am unaware of any research to support this view. Could it be that people who do not give to charity do so because they cannot afford to or because their hard earned income is spent on supporting the welfare of family members and loved ones? You seem to imply that it is somehow automatically wrong not to give to charity. Your attitude is tantamount to bullying.

    I can only hope Ronan that you re-read and consider in detail the sentiments expressed in your article. The appropriate response is the removal of the article, a retraction of the views expressed and apology to all staff, volunteers and donors of the Irish Red Cross. The attitude and views expressed by you have no place in the Irish Red Cross and no place in Irish society.







    Regards


    Gerard Moyne
    Life Member Irish Red Cross

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  31. Anonymous12:43 PM

    Would disagree with above post. To express a contrary opinion or to give the alternate view on collections is perfectly acceptable. To suggest that the church is not always receptive to opinion could be considered as valid comment rather than an unwarranted attack.
    To have public charitable collections removed would be a sad day and perhaps a possible outcome of this sanatised environment we live in where people need to be protected against everything challenging.
    This blog rightly calls the IRC to book but lets be fair.

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  32. Anonymous1:08 AM

    Great letter Mr. Moyne. Your response was necessary and I suspect sums up the feelings of most people who read Ronan Ryan's article. Well done on sticking your head above the parapet and keeping it there despite all attempts to chop if off.

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  33. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Any word yet on who the new National Director of Units is? I'd bet a million Euro it will be either Tony Lawlor or Ted Noonan. It wont be anyone new or someone who is not a crony of the current crew thats for sure. But I would happily be wrong on this!

    By the way what was Ronan Ryan, the Irish Red Cross fundraising assistant thinking writing that article above. Awful stuff, shocking. Well done to Mr. Moyne for quickly putting him in his place. I hope Ryan is mortified. Stick to the fundraising Mr. Ryan and leave blog writing to Noel Wardick!

    As for Donal Forde denying Irish Red Cross involvement with the Provisional IRA in 1970. Very very foolish when its a known fact that it happened. Denying it raises the matter again and no good will come of that. Its a very sensitive issue and there are lots of people out there who wont want the Irish Red Cross issuing denials that will attract attention and then result in Forde having to admit he got it wrong just like he had to do at the Public Accounts Committee Hearing in January.

    Any word on who the new Chairperson is going to be? You have to love the IRC for their secrecy and lack of transparency. And they wonder why their reputation has been so badly damaged in recent years. Sure everyone knows the existing Fianna Fail nominated Chairman, David O' Callaghan wants the job for another 3 years and the Nominations Committee would never have the courage to deny it to him. Their job is to rubber stamp it.

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  34. Anonymous3:18 PM

    If you want to know how they will elect the new Chairperson ask what the procedure for nominations are. You will be hard pressed to find one. It's like electing a new pope. So if you see white smoke above Merrion Square you will know O Callaghan is back in. This is a novel where they begin at the end.

    So predictable !

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