Wednesday 13 December 2017

Irish Red Cross whistleblower to appeal dismissal

Author of critical blog vows to continue speaking out against charity's 'toxic culture'


The Irish Red Cross whistleblower, who was fired last Tuesday, is to appeal his dismissal, the Sunday Independent has learnt.

The Irish Red Cross (IRC) has confirmed that Noel Wardick, a former head of international development, has been sacked.

"Following a disciplinary process, Mr Wardick's employment with the Irish Red Cross has been terminated with effect from November 10. Mr Wardick is entitled to appeal this decision," the organisation said in a statement issued to the Sunday Independent.

Mr Wardick said he was determined to fight on.

He was suspended with pay in September after he revealed himself to be the author of a online blog that was highly critical of the organisation.

The issue is expected to dominate the IRC's central council meeting next week.

Mr Wardick got himself in trouble for highlighting what the ex-international development chief described as a "toxic culture" in the IRC, which he said was controlled by a small number of powerful people.

Mr Wardick added that his sacking would not stop him from speaking out about what was wrong at the IRC.

He said his dismissal occurred because he was a whistleblower.

"My dismissal will do nothing to dampen my determination to see fundamental change at the IRC," he said.

He added that he had written to David O'Callaghan, the new chairman of the IRC, "on matters of serious concern. He has neither responded nor acknowledged any of my correspondence. He has made no effort to contact me whatsoever."

Key to Mr Wardick's concerns was how €162,000 in donations to victims of the Asian tsunami remained in a Tipperary bank account for more than three years.

He also questioned the delays in appointing a full-time new chairman and secretary general.

Defence Minister Tony Killeen's repeated refusal to intervene in the IRC controversy has been heavily criticised by the opposition.

Fine Gael defence spokesman David Stanton said: "The minister continues to sit on his hands while the reputation of the Irish Red Cross is being hammered.

"This is having a real impact on the thousands of hard-working volunteers around the country. He needs to tackle the governance structures so the Red Cross can put this whole sorry episode behind it and move on," he added.

Sunday Independent

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