News Irish News

Monday 27 January 2020

Goal under fire for failing to go public with search for new CEO

Barry Andrews has stepped aside as chief executive of Goal.
Barry Andrews has stepped aside as chief executive of Goal.

Niall O'Connor

Embattled charity Goal has been criticised for failing to publicly advertise the position of chief executive following the shock resignation of Barry Andrews.

The news of Mr Andrews's departure emerged yesterday as US authorities continue to investigate Goal's multi-million euro operation in Syria.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Damien Eagers
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Damien Eagers

The investigation by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is examining allegations of bribery and bid-rigging involving suppliers on the Turkey-Syria border.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has said it is withholding €10.1m in State funding while the probe is under way.

But the charity has been dealt a further blow following the resignation of Mr Andrews, a former Fianna Fáil minister.

Mr Andrews, who notified the board of his resignation in August, yesterday said the charity required a "fresh start" in terms of leadership.

"I very strongly feel that all of us are replaceable and we have to take responsibility when things go wrong from time to time," he told RTÉ's 'Morning Ireland'.

The charity is understood to have chosen Mr Andrews's replacement, which it says will be announced next month.

Read more: 'GOAL requires a fresh start in terms of leadership' - Irish charity CEO Barry Andrews steps down as inquiry into charity’s multimillion-euro Syria operation continues

But Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy last night, criticised the failure of Goal to put the job out for advertisement.

Ms Murphy said that given the level of taxpayers' money involved, the charity needed to be "entirely transparent".

"I am very surprised about the sequence of events here. It is good practice for a transparent process to be held in filling these vacancies," she told the Irish Independent.

Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly said he believed Goal should be called before the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs committee to answer questions on the appointment process and the US investigation.

In a statement, a spokesman for the charity defended the appointment process.

"The board felt that at this challenging time in Goal's development it would be inappropriate to conduct a public recruitment for the position.

"Goal needed a person with a very specific skill set in order to restore confidence to donors and the general public. It was felt the best manner to identify this person was by the means used."

In relation to the ongoing investigation by the US authorities, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said yesterday that he had serious concerns.

"I have been seriously concerned about the issues under investigation by the US relating to procurement practices for humanitarian assistance operations for Syria, since learning of the investigation at the end of April," Mr Flanagan said. But he went to recognise Mr Andrews's contribution to the charity.

"My department has been in regular contact with the US authorities and with Goal. I outlined the Government's concerns in a meeting with the chair and members of the board of Goal last month," he added.

Dóchas, the association of of Non-Governmental Development Organisations (NGOs), said it was clear there were weaknesses in Goal's internal procedures.

"It is imperative that Goal makes the necessary changes to these procedures as quickly as possible, in order to fully assure their donors and the wider public."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News