Stupidity of Irish Red Cross

 Posted by on August 4, 2010  Add comments
Aug 042010
 

Let me be completely transparent here and tell you that I was involved in a fundraising project for Haiti recently, the proceeds of which were donated to the Irish Red Cross.  It involved huge effort on the part of those who undertook its organisation, and was in many ways a great success.  By that, I mean it contributed greatly to the cultural life of our town and gave us the possibility to create other events in the future.

Those events won’t involve the Irish Red Cross.  When the Haiti fundraiser was over, I decided never again to work with them on anything.

I will never again, as long as I live, collaborate with the Irish Red Cross.

If they’d like to sue me, I’ll offer the ultimate defence: what I say is true.  It is a matter of indisputable fact that I will never do anything for the Irish Red Cross again.  Besides, I’d be only too happy to spell out in excruciating public detail precisely why I feel as I do.

I will never work with these people on the tiniest, most trivial effort.  Never.  Under any circumstances.

I see they’re now suing Google, which is as insane a waste of public contributions as anyone could imagine, and a clear illustration of what happens when an organisation run by amateurs starts to take itself seriously.

There’s nothing new about this.  Amateur organisations the world over are run by self-important people who come to believe their own message, but the IRC case is a special example of stupidity.

They want to expose an anonymous blogger who criticised them, and they’re using your charitable contributions to fund their extremely expensive court case, but their stupidity doesn’t end there.

The Irish Red Cross is challenging Google’s billions on a case of principle, using charitable donations, and with little or no chance of succeeding, but their stupidity doesn’t even end there.

Assuming that they somehow defeat Google and force them to reveal the identity of this anonymous blogger, they face a final obstacle.

Google doesn’t know.  They don’t have that information because you don’t have to reveal your identity to set up a Blogger site.   Five minutes research would have shown they were wasting their time.

So, after spending gigantic amounts of public donations, the geniuses who run the Irish Red Cross still won’t have a name to crucify.

Is it any wonder I swore I’d never work with these people again?

By the way, this isn’t the last story about the arrogance and stupidity of the Irish Red Cross.

Watch this space.

  50 Responses to “Stupidity of Irish Red Cross”

Comments (50)
  1.  

    It is sickening to watch this unfold. People still living in rat-infested temporary “shelters” in Haiti, and this is how they blow the donated funds. The local IRC volunteers appear to be a sound bunch of individuals, they must be very disillusioned.

  2.  

    Best stay small and personal. There are a number of Irish individuals working long-term in Haiti and even though they are inspired by their faith (as an ex-seminarian cum atheist I understand ur animosity towards the church) they are far more reliable, down-to-earth and in touch with ordinary Haitians than the IRC.

  3.  

    Damien — this post is about the Irish Red Cross, not the activities of individuals working on their own. Good luck to them.

  4.  

    I wondered why David Andrews chose to work with the IRC because I’d him classed as a very arrogant person.

  5.  

    I am not defending the IRC but what happens if the information on the Blog is false? Should someone be allowed to continually slander the IRC ( if that is the case)? If it turns out that the blogger is someone with an agenda what happens then? You can say what you want on your own blog but should that mean to the detriment of others if they are innocent? Lets say here on BTR you decide to blog on something without fact checking and publish false and damaging info. Should the defamed party be allowed to expose you or have their day in court?

  6.  

    I’m saying that the case is pointless since they’ll never identify the person anyway. Therefore, it’s a waste of donations given in good faith by the public.

  7.  

    A very reliable source, Someone who worked all their life for charitable organisations, once told me that approx 2 cents in the Euro finds its way to the source funded.
    It would be very sad if we stopped donating because of the actions of some, Its not too difficult to find the ones with the true integrity of a Charity.
    That is why I have since found Charities which are totally ” hands on ” to deliver to source.
    Once the glossy brochures, TVads etc roll out then necessary funds are being wasted.
    The above case involving Red Cross and Anonymous blogger could have been responded to with direct answers as opposed to the action taken.
    By all accounts the fundraiser for Haiti which you wrote about here was a great success in heightening awareness and bringing together all kinds of people and music, I had a brief peek and it was fabulous !

  8.  

    It was great.

    I regret getting the Irish Red Cross involved. It was a mistake and I wouldn’t do it again.

  9.  

    They must have some legal advice that tells them that this case can be won! Is it a waste if they win and they are vindicated? The principle seems sound to me even though the blogger has said that there are already new blog addresses set up if the case is won by the IRC. What price truth? ( presuming the Red Cross are right)

  10.  

    Their legal advisors clearly have no idea how a Blogger account is opened. You don’t give any personal details.

    Some advice that is.

  11.  

    Rob. I won’t comment on ” Legal advice ” because the clue is in the word ” Advice ”
    What the ” Blogger ” discovered and produced on the site deserved an explanation not an attack.
    The funds involved were ” donations ” for a specific cause and therefore required a response to the supporters of the cause by the people, the IRC who requested those donations in the first place.

  12.  

    From what I understand and I am open to correction the Blogger didn’t discover anything! The problem seems to be that the criticism of internal politics is harming the workings of the IRC. Bock as you must know there isn’t much on this intraweb that is anonymous. If they want to git ya they’ll git ya!.
    As far as opening an account they ask for an email address (I am not saying you have to give your real one but a trail is set). If you upload stuff from your phone your number is registered. Can you see where I am going with this Bock. I am not agreeing with the Red Cross but I can see where they are coming from.

  13.  

    Good luck with that, is all I’m saying. They’ve already backed off from the ISP, so there’s no possibility of tracing the IP address. Even if they did, it wouldn’t identify the poster. The phone company wlll also tell them to get stuffed. Google will never back down on this one.

    Result: charity donations straight down the toilet.

    It’s a classic example of small-town arrogance. Ireland at its most embarrassing.

  14.  

    I agree with you 100% on that one Bock and it is a waste but just out of curiosity if the same scenario happened on this site what recourse would an injured party have?
    Anyway sorry to hear you had a bad experience with the Red Cross and that it doesn’t put you off doing more with whoever else!

  15.  

    The scenario seems to be that people are reporting facts as they perceive them. Same answer: get a court order and good luck with that.

    SInce the Red Cross are so litigious, I must point out that I didn’t say I had a bad experience with them. I said I’d never work with them again under any circumstances, which is a simple, truthful statement of my intentions.

    I will never raise funds for them again or collaborate with them in any way. Of that you may be certain.

  16.  

    Sorry I wasn’t trying to entrap you there. I have had a bad experience with them and will never donate to them at all and this didn’t happen in Ireland either. I hope I can say that if anyone has a problem with that you are more than welcome to give them my details I will be happy to speak with them!

  17.  

    Norma is right about aid in general this makes interesting reading…
    http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/9049
    Note the part.
    “Malawi’s former President Bakili Muluzi was charged with embezzling aid money worth $12 million. Zambia’s former President Frederick Chiluba (a development darling during his 1991 to 2001 tenure) remains embroiled in a court case that has revealed millions of dollars frittered away from health, education and infrastructure toward his personal cash dispenser. Yet the aid keeps on coming”

    The fact is most of this aid never gets to the people it was intended for. In Haiti the government are demanding that charities pay import duty on all the aid coming into the country.
    So the Red Cross wasting this money on lawyers is part of the course.

  18.  

    I find nothing in this surprising.

  19.  

    The point of importance here is that monies collected by the IRC from you and i, And the time and expertize that many people gave in helping in an event such as the Haiti appeal in the Brazen Head recently, is being squandered on a legal challenge that is going to go nowhere and achieve nothing of note in its outcome.

  20.  

    Surely the money raised at the Haiti Appeal in the Brazen head would have been earmarked for the Haiti appeal and not lodged to a general fund for the IRC. If I had known I was funding the IRC when I donated a few quid I might have been less generous.

  21.  

    As I said earlier, I regret becoming involved with the IRC and I would never raise funds for them again. I can say no more than that at present.

  22.  

    The IRC’s claim is that said ” blogger ” ” Misrepresented confidential company information ”
    To my way of percieving a Charitable organisation, All ” Company information ” Should be open to scrutiny.
    The IRC are ” misrepresenting ” their source ( us ) if they are using funds donated for a specific cause, To sue for that which will ultimately impact on the very people they claim to serve.

    Maybe they have some other source of income for these purposes, if they have they should be clear about that.
    What is so wrong or illegal about asking where donations were distributed ( within reason ) and why specific donations for a specific cause were alledgedly unused for almost 4 yrs.

    It really can’t be that hard to explain nor should that specific info be ” confidential ”
    The IRC don’t need to sue Google to sort the problem, Its a totally ” shoot the messenger ” reaction.

  23.  

    I workred for as charity in Limerick that has been in the local and national media recently regarding respite homes. The waste of public funding was shocking, I wouldn’t have them run a bath not to mind a charity. The egos I encountered were HUGE. I’m not surprised that the IRC seem no different.

  24.  

    To answer your David Andrews question, Bock, the simple answer is that Andrews simply adores travelling the world by first class jet, staying in 5 star hotels and being fawned upon by lackeys. Being appointed as Chairman of the Irish Red Cross Society offered him plenty of opportunities to do so.

    Unfortunately the Irish Red Cross was specifically and deliberately excluded from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act even though it comes under the Department of Defence, so we’ll never be able to discover just how large Andrews’ travelling bill was.

  25.  

    Having had a misspent youth as an IRC volunteer nothing about the higher echelons of the organization surprises me. Many of those involved at the ground level are well intentioned people who do some great work. However as you move up the ranks a code of secrecy prevails. Not that I believe people are on the make or doing anything untoward with the funds. It’s simply an old boys club, they hold the power and are arrogant enough to believe their own council on all matters. Therefore they continually alienate those at the grass roots with stupid decisions. It’s usually a case of if you don’t like it there’s the door. I see not much has changed in many years.

  26.  

    Perhaps someone should run an ad campaign asking “How many people died today because of the IRC ?”

  27.  

    While the IRC reaction is both surprising and dissapointing, it’s the €162,000 in question in the Tipperary bank account that worries me. It SEEMS to me that after this blogger blew the lid on this, the IRC actions seem to be more interested in gagging any criticism than resolving the issue or damage control for it’s reputation. This would SUGGEST to me that such incidents are not as few and far between as may be thought and the high ups in the IRC may well be afraid of a full and frank investigation of their finances, after all who knows who has had their hand in the cookie jar. In my opinion anyway.

  28.  

    Just read that blog – extraordinary stuff. Thanks for the heads up.

    Now wouldn’t it be great if someone in the Department of Finance, Anglo Irish or the HSE took some elementary online precautions to protect their identity and started giving us some of the inside dirt that is swilling around in a blog of their very own.

    They would become public servants more than in name, and help us cleanse the stables.

  29.  

    -Epopt
    Perhaps some kind of mild equivelent of Wikileaks, based outside the state (in the Caymens for maximum irony). Personaly I think that there would be alot of people who would be willing to spill the beans if they were sure they could remain anonymous. Many of the lower level people who might work in the HSE or Anglo may be financialy constrainded to keep their jobs above their principals but I’m sure they are no more happy than the rest of us, them being tax payers too, at the present situation.

  30.  

    Perhaps there’s no need for a mild equivalent. After all, doesn’t Wikileaks already exist?

  31.  

    Submitting anonymously to Wikileaks or wherever you choose to publish – a brief guide:

    To do this you will need to use an untraceable IP address, an anonymous email, and avoid giving away any details that might identify you.

    Firstly. You are fairly traceable from your IP address (unless you ‘borrow’ one through WarDriving). Use TOR for all communication, including the setting up of the anonymous email address you have chosen. So you must have TOR turned on when engaged in any activity to do with the leak. Alternatively you could trust a VPN provider from a jurisdiction with strong privacy laws like iPredator to anonymise your IP address. TOR is slow so only use it when you need to.

    Secondly, your web browser has a footprint that could give you away. Install a new version of an open source browser you are not currently using e.g. Firefox or Google Chrome, and use it for all your communication to do with the leak.

    Thirdly. Use this new browser in it’s ‘anonymous’ setting to set up a web-based email such as Google Mail. (‘Private Browsing’ for Firefox and ‘Incongnito’ for Google Chrome). Only use your browser for this email, not any email client that stores email locally.

    Fourthly. Submit to a blog, Wikileaks, whatever, while you are connected to the TOR network.

    Fifthly. Use the set up above for any communications with any partners in publishing the leak. Do not reveal your identity to them, or anything that might give your identity away.

    Sixthly. When the leak has been published, uninstall the browser and permanently erase all traces of any copies of compromising files you might have stored on your computer. This means using a utility to repeatedly overwrite the space used by that file to remove traces on the hard disk.

    (Oh and use a computer that you have kept up to date with it’s security patches and don’t use Windows XP. A hidden key-stroke logger will negate all you have done above, although such things are most interested in your bank account details.)

    Obviously, don’t use the computer at work.

    All of this is not as hard as it may sound and when you are finished you can bask in the glow of citizen activism and helping to make the country a better place for our children.

  32.  

    Well, according to a report in yesterday’s Sunday Times, the IRC may have discovered the identity of its mole via a High Court Order which UPC was obliged to comply with. An IRC Manager called Noel Wardick has been suspended due to an email that he sent. I can’t upload the report because I don’t have a subscription to the ST, but there are more details here:-

    http://governancereformatirishredcross.blogspot.com/2010/08/irish-red-cross-crisis-again-subject-of.html

    Tough luck to Noel – and well done for blowing the whistle on the IRC’s incompetence.

  33.  

    I’m aware what the post is about. I read it. My comment was made in the context that you are disillusioned that they may have squandered/are wasting the funds raised from the earnest effort and hard-earned cash of well-meaning people. It was also made in the light of having previously suggested here, when you initiated a debate about who should be the recipients of your initiative to support the victims, that such mainstream orgs. are best avoided.

    I know you are probably burnt with your IRC dealings already, but it would be worthwhile if someone else involved could ask for clarification as to whether your monies has been put to the intended use and get clarification whether they have a separate legal fund to deal with their attempts to suppress criticism.

    Some months ago a frustrated Haitian wrote “Down with NGO thieves” by the road between Port-au-Prince’s international airport and the temporary government headquarters. Thankfully, there are Haitians like Fred Sajous who decided to do his own investigative journalism and find out where the hell all the American Red Cross money went:

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/28-0

    Maybe the IRC did spend your money on Haiti, but most of it was blown on bad strategy and wasteful management of resources?

  34.  

    As far as I’m concerned, the Irish Red Cross have already spent all the money they reported to us as having been raised for Haiti on pursuing this stupid vendetta.

  35.  

    As a member of the IRC for a number of years I can understand the anger expressed here, the members on the ground who are the ones seen in ambulances at community and sporting events, those who help in their communities in what ever way the can, who train others in first aid so that help may be at hand, are embarrassed by this case. I would however, ask you not to tar us all with the same brush. Judge your local Red Cross branch on their efforts, their results and theirs only and hopefully you will see that they are still worth supporting.

  36.  

    The IRC is one organisation, not many. Therefore it needs to repair itself as one organisation. I will never support it again, either locally or nationally.

  37.  

    well all i will say, is thank you for once doing so and im sorry your let down

  38.  

    So am I

  39.  

    So eh, Bock, what do you say now that the blogger was revealed by Google Inc?…

  40.  

    He wasn’t revealed by Google.

  41.  

    Eh, Beck? Hello?

  42.  

    Eh, hi, eh, ,,wha?

  43.  

    -Beck

    Actually he wasn’t revealed by google, he outed himself.

    “AN IRISH Red Cross (IRC) employee, who was the focus of a recent High Court action after anonymously publishing online confidential information about the charity, has outed himself on his blog.

    Noel Wardick, head of the international department with the IRC, set up a blog last December in which he outlined widespread problems at the charity, including alleged financial irregularities.

    Mr Wardick also used the blog to call for a full-scale independent investigation into the affairs and operations of the organisation.”

    In a statement yesterday, the charity said Mr Wardick had been made aware of the disclosure of his identity by UPC.

    “The Irish Red Cross notes the admission by Noel Wardick that he is responsible for the blog . . . The Irish Red Cross is continuing to seek disclosure from Google in respect of the full content of the blog.”
    Source

  44.  

    The Irish Red Cross really is run by a bunch of idiots.

  45.  

    I don’t see why they are still pushing for disclosure even after the guy outed himself (in what one might venture was an attempt to staunch the haemorage of [donated] money to the lawyers). Perhaps they were hoping it was someone else. If anything this is even more embarrassing for the IRC. With this kind of stupidity at the helm is it any wonder yer man set up the blog.

  46.  

    The more they push this, the more stupid they look.

    I certainly wouldn’t be donating to an organisation as bumbling, defensive and vindictive as this crowd. Would you?

    It makes me think they have a lot to hide.

  47.  

    I am a life memebr of the Red Cross and have seen at first hand the methods they use to bully people into a state of total distress. Of course these bullies are not the Red Cross they are volunteers within the Red Cross who abuse their position and use their position as they have only one intention in life POWER !

    I have seen the methods used and have been on the end of this barage, but I unlike others would not take any of the shit that these guys could come up with and never intend to show any respect to their meaningless lives. They purport to be involved in a Humanitarian Society which insures respect for humanity. The only guys that do well out of the Red Cross are lawyers and consultants. Well, they won’t be spending my money not a sngle penny would I give them that is the Irish Red Cross they that is the management have shown time and again the capcity to do wrong again and again.

  48.  

    I wish I read this before I donated to them.

  49.  

    try goal non political non governmental

  50.  

    As a humanitarian aid volunteer in Africa I daily see the work carried out by NGOs, some bad, some good,some exceptional and some truely appaling. Embezzelment of aid funding is endemic in Africa but that is changing and DFID form the UK has led the way and Ireland is following suit. Direct aid to governments has been curtailed and we are now seeing projects funded directly with complete oversight and transparency from the respective national development agencies.
    The IIRC and its workers on the ground carry out amazing work with limited resources and are extremly professional, but for me many of the “executives” in NGOs abuse the system.
    There is waste in the system but the figures put forward of only 2% getting on the ground are misleading, if that was the case the schools, health clinics and water and sanitation projects would not even get off the drawing board.

    As for Goal, fantastic work on the ground, but their CEO has made it a political organization by his pronouncements, and while he may have a point about dictatorships and embezzlement, their own finances have not been fully transparent. From discussions with other aid workers, many on the ground are delighted that he is barred from entering the countries, Sudan, Uganda etc due to his criticizms of government leaders and policies, These cause unending friction with the governments and co-operation is often non-existant as a result.
    They can get on with out political interference from him.

    With Haiti there was a huge outpouring of goodwill towards the people, but too often many small NGO’s rush in with aid, often it is the wrong type of aid, food that is not part of the local diet, shelters that are wrong for the environment etc and to compound these problems they place a huge strain on resources already stretched to breaking point. And they then refuse to work under the Umbrella of OCHA to co-ordinate efforts.
    Just an example. a small church or community run charity is set up and decides to assist a natural disaster hit area,usually with out the resources to assess what is exactly required.

    They send in food aid( normally tinned and dried food and which is often alien to the people affected) collected from the local community, tents and non food items etc. They set up shop in a field outside the town or village, usually without discussing it with the land owner.(first point of friction) People flock to their aid station and find there are no water or sanitation facilities, or that there is no fuel with which to cook this food, so the nearest stream or river becomes the focus for drinking washing etc, trees are chopped down to provide fuel and then causes erosion, destroying the landowners property and the viability of his land for future food production, chaos reigns and they then seek assistance from OCHA.

    Upon their arrival at a meeting they then begin looking for equal status and equal access to resources with organizations such as UNHCR, WFP, MSF etc.

    The large organizations have goals and defined policies in these events and will comply with the co-ordination efforts whereas these small orgs have their own agenda, usually political or religous and refuse to co-operate.
    Many instances of OCHA asking them to reduce staff levels or to leave because they are putting a huge strain on resources and fuel are rebuffed and the organization carries on regardless. (The UNDP minimum standard for clean water is 5 litres per person per day, plus the facility to clean this water to a potable standard, either purification tablets or a means with which to boil it). So instead of being an asset they become a liability and cause friction with the main bodies and the people they are their to assist.

    Aid work and its troubles with financing is not perfect, it has a lot of problems but I prefer to be a part of it and working towards solutions than to sit on my hands and look for people to blame like the IRC.

    Why do I do it, it is the most rewarding work I will ever do, it can be deeply depressing at times, scary,and tireing but when you meet the people you are assisting and seeing the joy on their faces that they now have a pump for clean water, a shed so their kids can go to school, or a medical clinic within a couple of days walk to it makes the world of difference and recharges you to work harder for them.
    Poeple like Andrews et al are a stain on the planet and need to be put back in the box, remember all of the good work being carried out by volunteers and work with them, not the nobs at the top.

Leave a Reply