Dublin, 9 December 2011 -
The Irish Red Cross Society
c/o Mr. David J. O’Callaghan
The Irish Red Cross Society
16 Merrion Square Dublin 2
Dear Mr O’Callaghan,
I write to formally and publicly raise the concerns of Transparency International Ireland with the Irish Red Cross Society over its dismissal of Mr. Noel Wardick, former Head of the Irish Red Cross’s International Department.
We are concerned that the Irish Red Cross Society has not treated Mr Wardick in a fair and transparent manner.
We are also using this opportunity to call on the Irish Red Cross to commission an independent investigation into the claims made by Mr. Wardick related to governance and financial management of the society. Furthermore, we call on the Irish Red Cross to reinstate Mr. Wardick pending the outcome of such an investigation and any formal appeal he may make against his dismissal. As you are aware, Mr. Wardick was dismissed for gross misconduct on 10th of November this year.
We have no intention of commenting on the internal affairs of the Irish Red Cross. However we restate our intention to speak openly on issues of public importance. This is particularly the case where we believe a negative precedent has been set by disciplinary or legal action taken against any person who raises concerns in good faith and in the public interest. Such a precedent is likely to arise from Mr. Wardick’s dismissal and his case will serve as a warning to others who may find themselves in a similar position.
Mr. Wardick’s dismissal appears to have been based on a finding of misconduct arising from the substance and manner in which he made claims related to the governance and financial management at the Irish Red Cross. Given that the claims made by Mr. Wardick do not appear to have been independently investigated, we believe it is impossible to reliably ascertain whether the claims were true and if Mr. Wardick acted with malice.
It is therefore critical that:
1. An investigation be undertaken independently of those with a direct interest in the case.
2. No person named or associated with those directly concerned with Mr Wardick’s reports adjudicate on his appeal against his dismissal.
3. Mr Wardick be reinstated pending the outcome of any such investigation and appeal.
We do not request that the Irish Red Cross Society enter into correspondence with Transparency International Ireland on this matter, nevertheless Transparency International Ireland will:
1. Continue to support the right of Mr. Wardick and any other person to report concerns in the public interest and in good faith.
2. Support the right of workers reporting concerns to a fair and independent disciplinary hearing where employers decide disciplinary action is necessary.
3. Highlight the responsibility of all employers to undertake independent and impartial inquiries based on reasonable and serious concerns raised by their employees.
John Devitt Chief Executive
cc. Mr. Tadateru Konoé, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Mr Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross; Mr. Bekele Geleta, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Mr. Yves Daccord, Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross; Mr. Tony Killeen T.D., Minister for Defence; Mr. Micheál Martin T.D, Minister for Foreign Affairs.