Shatter seeks assurances on Red Cross spending

THE Government is seeking advice from the Attorney General as to how to proceed with a legal review of a prominent charity dogged by allegations of poor governance and financial irregularities.

In the interim, Justice Minister Alan Shatter has asked for assurances from the chair of the Irish Red Cross Society as to how its approximate €1 million annual government grant aid is spent.

He said grant aid for 2012 “is being considered as part of the review of departmental spending presently being undertaken”.

Mr Shatter said the society publishes its independently audited annual accounts and nothing has come to light to indicate grant-in-aid has not been properly expended.

He also said that because the society is a body corporate, under legislation, it was responsible for handling its own internal affairs.

Nonetheless, he believes that organisations in receipt of Exchequer funding should publish detailed accounts that provide transparency in relation to how such funds are used.

Last December, an internal report found the charity struggled to cope with the high levels of donations it received in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami and that “serious administrative failures” led to significant delays in dispersing the money raised.

The investigation found that while there was no misappropriation or misallocation of funds, there were problems linked to the management of some of the money received.

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