Sunday 19 November 2017

Plum job at Red Cross for banker

Despite paying grants, Minister kept in dark on ex-AIB man's €95k-a-year role

HARRY LEECH

A spokesperson for the Department of Defence has confirmed that the Irish Red Cross did not consult with it or the then Minister for Defence over the appointment of former AIB Ireland managing director Donal Forde as general secretary of the Irish Red Cross at a salary of €95,000-a-year, most of which is paid from a government grant.

Based on documents released to the Sunday Independent under the Freedom of Information Act, the first that the then Minister for Defence Eamon O Cuiv heard about the appointment was a press release from the society.

A spokesperson for the Department said: "Whilst this Department was notified, there was no requirement for any further correspondence with this Department or with the Minister."

A number of revelations regarding poor governance and weak financial controls in the Irish Red Cross have emerged in recent years.

The society was recently criticised in the Dail by the current Minister for Justice and Defence Alan Shatter.

The Minister said that as a beneficiary of State funding, the society needed to "ensure its corporate governance standards meet what would be regarded as acceptable for an organisation of its calibre".

The Irish Red Cross has acknowledged that there have been problems in the past.

However, a spokesperson said: "A programme of substantial change and reform is under way within the society."

The Department has been at pains to distance itself from the issues within the Irish Red Cross in recent years and the appointment of Mr Forde seems to be no different.

In an email to staff, the Department's principal officer Cathal Duffy said: "Mr Forde is a former managing director of AIB (Ireland). This appointment and the process that led to it are entirely a matter for the Irish Red Cross Society and is not something that we would want to comment on."

Mr Forde was managing director of AIB in the Republic of Ireland between 2002 and 2008 and was later appointed as director of group strategy, a position he held until he stepped down in May 2009.

According to the bank, his salary was €1.3m in 2007 but this subsequently fell to €776,000 in 2008.

He has also held voluntary roles on the boards of the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland and the University of Limerick Foundation, which is a registered charity.

Sunday Independent

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