Red Cross blogger reveals identity


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.

The blogger’s decision to reveal his identity comes shortly after internet service provider UPC was forced to comply with an order to supply details about him to the charity. In a controversial move, the charity brought a High Court action against Google Ireland and UPC last month seeking to know the identity of the person behind the blog.

In its petition it claimed the contents of the blog had had a serious impact on staff morale, on fundraising and on the day-to-day running of the organisation.

During the High Court proceedings Mr Justice Brian McGovern ordered UPC to disclose the identity of the person associated with the blog. He also gave permission to the charity to have Google Ireland’s parent company named as the defendant in the action as it controls Blogspot, the site that hosts the blog.

In a post on the blog on Wednesday, Mr Wardick said he would no longer be afraid or deny who he was.

“The purpose of the blog was and is to generate debate within the organisation, something that heretofore was sadly lacking and most definitely not encouraged. The blog has been successful in this regard,” he said.

“The Irish Red Cross has been subjected to a torrid time in the national media in recent weeks, as it has in regular waves over the last 20 years . . . The reason for the constant media coverage is because there is a very real and a very serious story to be told, one that must be heard,” Mr Wardick added.

The charity has been without a chairman since David Andrews stepped down last November. In April, acting chairman Tony Lawlor said the organisation was working with the Government to introduce new legislation governing the way it operates.

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.”

An IRC spokesman refused to say whether Mr Wardick had been suspended from his position but said he continued to be an employee of the organisation.