Saturday 20 January 2018

John O’Shea’s daughter wants to succeed him as Goal chief

Lisa O'Shea
Lisa O'Shea
John O'Shea

Luke Byrne, Edel O'Connell and Tim Healy

THE position of GOAL CEO will be publicly advertised after founder John O'Shea announced yesterday that he will step down from the position at the end of August.

It is understood that Mr O'Shea's daughter Lisa, who currently works as head of fundraising and marketing, has expressed an interest in the job.

Her father would be keen to see her appointed after he retires, but if she wishes to run, Lisa will have to compete with anyone else interested in the job. She was not available for comment last night.

Mr O'Shea (68) is stepping down after the settlement of his High Court action aimed at stopping the board from taking any steps to suspend him or remove him from his position.

Earlier this month, Mr O'Shea began High Court proceedings against GOAL's board, claiming that steps were being taken to remove him as CEO.

The colourful and outspoken former sports journalist, who set up the charity in 1977, is expected to step into an "ambassadorial" role within GOAL.

However, it is understood that no terms of reference or salary have been decided upon.

He will likely take up the position when he steps down from the €100,000-a-year job as head of the overseas charity.

GOAL said it "intends to explore opportunities to collaborate with John for the betterment of the organisation, given his vast experience and expertise."

The move has been on the table for months and Mr O'Shea has previously expressed an interest in the role.

Following lengthy discussion at the High Court yesterday between lawyers representing the parties, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy was told the matter had been settled.

No details of the settlement were revealed. However, according to GOAL's 2010 accounts, it received over €16m from the Irish taxpayer. It remains to be seen whether such monies are being used to fund an exit package for Mr O'Shea.

A statement from GOAL said that a "mutually acceptable arrangement" had been agreed between the parties. The board paid tribute to Mr O'Shea and his "astonishing work and contribution to GOAL".

Simmering discord within the organisation came to a head with Mr O'Shea's handling of the kidnapping of GOAL volunteer Sharon Commins in Sudan more than two years ago.

After her release after 107 days in captivity, she criticised the agency, claiming that it had failed to protect its staff.

Mr O'Shea defended the charity, saying he felt that he did not have responsibility for the security of all of his staff. This was seen as a PR disaster.


The recent acrimony that has dogged the organisation for months was laid bare at the High Court earlier this month when Mr O'Shea claimed there was a "concerted effort" to remove him from his position.

He was forced to deny that there was a culture of "institutionalised bullying" at the charity after a number of complaints were made against him by GOAL managers.

In the past year, GOAL has been rocked by a spate of resignations. All but one board member resigned last September.

Mr O'Shea then set out to rebuild the organisation, bringing a host of new names on to the board. However, the new chairman Ken Fogarty, a senior barrister, resigned in December -- after just three months.

Mr O'Shea said last night: "I wish to express my profound thanks to many thousands of individuals who have helped me in my efforts to alleviate the suffering of some of the poorest people on the planet."

Irish Independent

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