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TI Ireland Open Letter to Minister Alan Shatter on the Irish Red Cross

Mr Alan Shatter T.D.
Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence
Department of Justice and Equality
94 St Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2


Dear Minister Shatter,

I write on the occasion of UN Anti-Corruption Day to firstly congratulate the Irish Government on the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption this year. We are convinced that this important legal instrument will help Ireland meet its commitments to reaching and maintaining international standards of good governance and are happy to offer whatever help your department should require in reviewing its implementation.

As you are aware, Article 33 of the Convention recognises the important role of good faith reporting in protecting the public interest.

I should therefore also use this opportunity to draw your attention to the continued concerns of Transparency International Ireland (TI Ireland) over the failure of the Irish Red Cross Society (IRC) to commission an independent investigation into reports of weak financial management and governance at the Society made by Mr Noel Wardick, former Head of the IRC’s International Department.

Mr Wardick was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct on 10 November 2010 for having publicly commented on the governance of the IRC. He is still unemployed and unable to gain employment pending his appeal for unfair dismissal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

On 9 December 2010, TI Ireland wrote to the Central Council of the IRC encouraging them to commission an independent investigation into Mr Wardick’s claims.  In spite of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s critical report into poor financial management of state funding at the IRC, no independent investigation has taken place into Mr Wardick’s public statements on the management of public donations and governance at the charity.

We believe that the IRC’s refusal to commission an independent investigation into his claims will serve as a great disincentive to anyone wishing to report financial irregularities or the risk of wrongdoing in the charity sector. We would therefore ask you to press upon the IRC the importance of an independent investigation into Mr Wardick’s reports. Such a measure would not only help seek a fair resolution to all the parties in this case, but also serve the public interest.

Yours sincerely,

John Devitt

Chief Executive

Transparency International Ireland