Wednesday 22 May 2019

Charity's board 'did not vote to oust O'Shea in bully row'

Luke Byrne and Colm Kelpie

CHARITY boss John O'Shea may have misunderstood the purpose of a GOAL board meeting which led him to take legal action against the directors, it emerged yesterday.

On Tuesday Mr O'Shea secured an injunction temporarily stopping the board from taking any action regarding his employment with the charity he established 35 years ago.

The High Court was told that the 68-year-old CEO believed there was a "concerted effort" to remove him from his position.

But it is understood that, rather than trying to oust Mr O'Shea, the plan was for him to take a paid break to allow allegations of bullying against him to be investigated.

It is also understood board members were "in disbelief" about Mr O'Shea's decision to take the matter to court.

The court heard that Mr O'Shea was asked not to attend a board meeting last week when a vote was taken to suspend him, which was defeated by six votes to five.

However, it is understood that no vote was taken to suspend Mr O'Shea and that there was "never any question of suspending him".

It was also claimed in court that there was a "personality clash" between Mr O'Shea and former Irish Medicine Board chairman Pat O'Mahony, who was appointed GOAL chairman last December.

In court Mr O'Shea was forced to raise allegations that he allowed a culture of "institutionalised bullying" -- accusations that he denied.

There have been continuing murmurs regarding corporate governance issues and Mr O'Shea's erratic behaviour.

Former chairman Ken Fogarty resigned last November following an alleged verbal outburst by Mr O'Shea.


Board level discussions have been taking place regarding a pay package to be offered to Mr O'Shea for a move from the position of CEO to an "ambassadorial role."

It is anticipated that he would remain GOAL's public face undertaking PR and fundraising activities but would give up a significant amount of control.

It is understood that he wants his daughter Lisa, GOAL's head of fundraising and marketing, to fill the position and that this has been a bone of contention.

There has also been unease over the handling of the kidnap of Sharon Commins in Sudan more than two years ago.

Ms Commins spent 107 days in captivity in 2009, after she and her colleague Hilda Kawuki were abducted while working for GOAL in Darfur.

She criticised the agency following her release, claiming that it failed to protect its staff.

However, Mr O'Shea defended the charity, saying he felt that he did not have responsibility for the security of all staff.

Mr O'Shea was not at home when the Irish Independent called to his house yesterday, nor was he at the GOAL head office in Dun Laoghaire.

One person familiar with the situation said that GOAL had been "John O'Shea free" for the last 10 days. The case will again appear in court on Friday.

Irish Independent

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