Goal founder to leave aid agency after boardroom battle
GOAL CHIEF executive John O’Shea is to leave the aid agency he founded 35 years ago after an acrimonious boardroom battle.
The announcement came after a settlement was reached in Mr O’Shea’s High Court action aimed at restraining the Goal board from taking steps to suspend or remove him from his position.
Following lengthy discussion between lawyers representing Mr O’Shea and Goal, Paul McGarry SC for Mr O’Shea yesterday told Ms Justice Mary Laffoy that the matter had been settled and could be struck out.
A “mutually acceptable arrangement” had been agreed for Mr O’Shea to retire as chief executive at the end of August,” a statement from Goal said yesterday.
The board intended to “explore opportunities to collaborate” with Mr O’Shea “for the betterment of the organisation” given his “vast experience and expertise”, it said.
Mr O’Shea (68) yesterday thanked the “many thousands of individuals who have helped me in my efforts to alleviate the suffering of some of the poorest people on the planet”.
When Mr O’Shea obtained an interim injunction ahead of a board meeting two weeks ago, the court heard of a “personality clash” between Mr O’Shea and board chairman Pat O’Mahony.
His legal representatives had also told the court of a “concerted action” to remove him. Mr O’Mahony yesterday described Mr O’Shea as a “true mould breaker”.
His “compassion for the poorest of the poor and his determination has made Goal an internationally respected force for change throughout the developing world,” Mr O’Mahony said.
Mr O’Shea had shown “an unremitting unwillingness to allow conformity with convention to blunt his drive to replace despair with hope,” the board said.
In a statment Mr O’Shea wished Goal “continued success” and thanked the staff and the donors. “I would like to pay a special tribute to the citizens of Ireland who have been so phenomenally generous in their financial support,” he said.
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Joe Costello paid tribute to Mr O’Shea’s “exceptional humanitarian work” and “leadership”.
The Dún Laoghaire-based aid agency was founded by the former sports journalist in 1977 and has spent some €720 million on humanitarian work in more than 50 countries.