Ireland Funds’ chief executive steps down after one year

Mr Cronin intends to spend more time with family and will move back to Ireland

The chief executive of the Ireland Funds has stepped down and has been replaced by Caitriona Fottrell, The Irish Times understands.

David Cronin was appointed to head up the charity in April 2019 after an international recruitment process, but the board of the Funds has been told that Mr Mr Cronin is stepping down for family reasons and will be moving back to Ireland.

Ms Fottrell, who has been heading up the fund’s Ireland division, has been appointed chief executive and president.

She will be moving to New York to take up the US-based role.

Mr Cronin was head of fundraising at the University of Limerick before his appointment to lead the US-based charity, the Ireland Funds.

Mr Cronin replaced Kieran McLoughlin, who led the organisation for more than a decade.

Established

The Ireland Funds was established by Tony O’Reilly in 1976 to support peace and cultural activities across the island of Ireland.

It has raised more than $600 million (€517 million) for various causes since its foundation, and has chapters in 12 countries.

In 2018 it uncovered an instance of fraud connected with an employee at its Dallas office.

US filings show that the amount allegedly embezzled between 2015 and 2017 was estimated to be $711,875, (€639,560)

Members of the board were asked to donate funds to help plug the hole by the alleged embezzlement.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at the annual Ireland Fund's gala in Washington DC on March 12th – one of the final events to take place in the US capital before the coronavirus lockdown.