Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 8 Dec 1999

Vol. 512 No. 4

Priority Questions. - Irish Red Cross Society.

Jack Wall


26 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence the plans, if any, he has to update the legislation governing the Irish Red Cross Society; if he will list the Government representatives currently on the central council; the representations, if any, he has received from staff of the society concerning problems within the organisation; the orders made by the Government under section 2 of the Red Cross Act, 1938; the plans, if any, he has to amend any orders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26172/99]

As outlined in my reply to the Adjournment Debate in the House on Wednesday, 24 November 1999 regarding the Irish Red Cross Society, a new secretary general was recruited by the society earlier this year. One of the first tasks undertaken by him was a strategic review of the operation of the society. I am informed that this review will encompass the views and opinions of all organs of the society to ensure the strengthening and development of the society. I understand this review to be totally inclusive, involving all staff members and volunteers. The Red Cross is being assisted by a consultant in these matters. It is intended that the review will be completed by mid-2000. It may transpire that legislative changes may be required at that time and my Department will respond as required.

I have not received representations from the staff concerning problems within the organisation and, as I have already indicated in this House, I do not have a function in the administration of the Irish Red Cross Society. I do not get involved in the day to day running of its affairs. The society is an autonomous body with full powers to manage and administer its affairs through its governing body, the Central Council. I am also mindful that a fundamental principle of the International Committee of the Red Cross is that all Red Cross and Red Crescent societies enjoy freedom from political involvement worldwide. My Department, as in the past, is available to provide assistance to the society as and when requested.

I am confident that the problems being experienced currently in the society will be addressed adequately within the terms of the strategic review. I appeal to all concerned to engage in dialogue to resolve these ongoing industrial relations problems.

With regard to section 2 of the Red Cross Act, 1938, orders or amendments to orders have not been made nor are they being considered under this section.

The following persons were nominated by Government on 23 April 1997 to serve as members of the Central Council for the period 1 May 1997 to 30 April 2000:

Mr. Pat O'Reilly

Mr. Des Kavanagh

Mr. Jim O'Loughlin

Ms Colette Treanor

Mr. Robert Byrne

Ms Geraldine McLaughlin

Ms Margaret Garry

Ms Deirdre Healy

Ms Elaine Bolger

Mr. John Lovett

Mr. John Costin

Ms Carmel O'Brien

Mr. Gerry O'Sullivan

Mrs. Hannah Cuddy

Mr. Richie Ryan

Mr. James Sewell

How far advanced is the strategic review and do staff members support that 100%? Are staff members dealing directly with the consultant? On the appointment of members, it is my understanding from representations I have received that the staff are seeking to have one of their members appointed to the board. Will that be a possibility when the new members are appointed on 30 May?

I understand that the review is progressing well and will be completed by the middle of next year. The widest possible consultation is taking place with unions and staff with a view to reconciling the differences which have arisen. When the reappointment of members arises next year, I will take the Deputy's comments into account, subject to the parameters of the legislation.