The Government has approved Mr Máirtín O’Fainín, Ms Mary Flaherty, Mr Darren Ryan and Mr Cathal Duffy as nominees to the General Assembly of the Red Cross. They will serve a five year term.
Máirtín O’Fainín has worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for a number of years, most recently serving as Irish Ambassador to Australia and prior that as Ambassador to Argentina before his retirement last year.
Mary Flaherty is a former Fine Gael TD from Dublin who previously served as Minister of State at the Department of Social Welfare and as Fine Gael spokesperson on development affairs. She is currently the Chief Executive of The CARI Foundation.
Darren Ryan is the current Mayor of Clonmel and is also a Labour Party Councillor on South Tipperary County Council. He was first elected to Clonmel Borough Council in 2004 and to South Tipperary County Council in 2007 and is currently leader of the Labour Party on both Councils. Mr Ryan has been involved with the Red Cross for many years and he works in a Day Activation Centre for adults with intellectual disabilities, run by the Brothers of Charity.
Cathal Duffy, Principal Officer in the Department of Defence is being re-appointed by the Government. Mr Duffy previously worked in the Department of Agriculture and in the Office of the Information Commissioner.
The Red Cross Society was established by the Irish Red Cross Society Order 1939 as an independent charitable body. A number of changes have recently been made to the above Order after a number of corporate governance issues recently came to light. According to the 1939 legislation, the Red Cross is responsible for the handling of its own internal affairs. However a key decision taken on April 17 2012 amends this and allows the Government to nominate up to 10 percent of the membership of the Society’s General Assembly.
The nomination of these “four high calibre individuals” to the Red Cross “represents a further important step taken by this Government to restoring the full confidence of the public in the Irish Red Cross Society”, according to the Minister for Justice Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD. He added that the changes “will copper-fasten the strong impetus for change that now exists within the Society itself and whilst a lot of important measures have been taken over the past year, particularly in relation to re-structuring its corporate governance, I would urge the Society to maintain the momentum and to ensure that the value that these nominations can bring to the Society is fully utilised.”