Andrews to leave Red Cross post


Chairman of the Irish Red Cross David Andrews has said his decision to step down from the post next month was designed to coincide with a restructuring of the agency.

The former minister for foreign affairs has served as the agency’s chairman for more than nine years and was only recently reappointed to the post.

He was elected to the central council of the Irish Red Cross in 2000 and has served three consecutive three-year terms in the position. His latest appointment to the post last May should have run until 2012.

The organisation announced today its secretary general John Roycroft would also be stepping down at the end of the year after the completion of a two-year secondment from the Civil Service.

In a statement, Mr Andrews said the timing of his announcement coincided with the completion of a “significant set of proposals” to restructure the society, the board and central council. He said the changes would “improve both the governance structures and efficiency of the organisation”.

Mr Andrews said under the proposed changes members of the board, including the chair, would be obliged to step aside after two consecutive terms of office.

“There will also be a proposal to change the method by which the chair is appointed as well as a range of other proposals designed to strengthen the democratic nature of the organisation and its governance structures," he said. "It is my intention to give a lead on the question of the voluntary length of service of the chair. It has been important for me to oversee the completion of this plan and I now believe that it is time for a new chair to takeover and implement the plan."

He said the changes were required to bring the governance of the organisation in line with the International Red Cross Movement and “to amend the governance structures of the society to reflect the demands of the 21st century and best practice both nationally and internationally.” The changes were likely to require changes in legislation, he added.

A Department of Defence spokeswoman earlier confirmed Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea received a letter from Mr Andrews last week indicating his intention to step down from the council by the end of the year. She said Mr O'Dea is due to hold a meeting with Mr Andrews in the coming days.

Mr Roycroft said today he would be returning to the Department of Justice in December following his two-year tenure as secretary general.

“During my time with the Irish Red Cross I have been privileged to experience a growth in membership and the completion of major projects in Asia and Africa as well as the on-going work in Ireland and to work closely with volunteers and staff.

“I believe that it is now appropriate for me to return to the Civil Service, in order to allow a new secretary general to take over and implement these new plans for the future,” he said.

The Irish Red Cross, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, is part of the global Red Cross network of voluntary humanitarian aid agencies.

The Irish Red Cross has some 6,000 volunteers in more than 145 branches across 26 counties.