Scouting Ireland warns members against rebel ‘campaign’

Members of the youth body are due to vote on new measures at a meeting on Saturday

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone at 168th St Aengus Scout Den, Tallaght.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone at 168th St Aengus Scout Den, Tallaght.

 

Scouting Ireland has said an ongoing campaign by some of its members against new governance structures had the potential to “threaten the very future” of the organisation.

Its members are due to vote on the new measures at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Saturday.

This follow controversy over the handling of a rape allegation and the subsequent suspension of State funds. Adopting new structures is seen as key to having those finances restored.

They include the appointment of a new board, new board structures and a new process for appointing directors. They are due to be appointed at a second EGM in October.

However, in a circular to its members, the organisation’s interim chair Annette Byrne and national secretary Charles McGuinness stressed that a return to normal funding procedures was dependent on the structures being adopted.

“Those behind the campaign [AGAINST THEM]may believe they are acting in the best interests of Scouting Ireland but they are not,” they said.

“Any attempts to defer the EGM, or to defer the vote on the governance proposals will be a serious breach of the hard won trust we have re-established with the Minister [for Children Katherine Zappone] and her officials.”

They said it would likely result in an immediate withdrawal of further funding, without which the organisation could not operate.

“Members need to reflect on this fact, and it is fact, very carefully.”

The introduction of new safeguarding procedures in Scouting Ireland was now well underway, the email to members read.

“Do not be influenced by the attempts of a small minority of members to derail the hard work of the governance team over the past four years,” it said, although it did not identify that group or its specific motives.

“There is nothing to fear from the new governance structures proposed. They will ensure Scouting Ireland is a safe place for all and will sustain the development of Scouting Ireland into the future.”