“The circumstances of the OIG [US Office of the Inspector General] investigation over the last seven months has been extremely uncomfortable for Goal and we are working hard on correcting the weaknesses identified and providing all necessary assurances to our donors,” Mr Andrews said in a statement yesterday.
“I do not for one moment resent the robust oversight of our donor partners and if we are serious about retaining public trust and managing large sums of taxpayers’ money, then this type of oversight is not only to be expected, but to be welcomed.
“Goal applies exacting standards to the management of its programmes and in my leadership role over the last few years I have endeavoured to apply those standards,” he added.
“However, it has become clear to me that Goal requires a fresh start in terms of leadership.
“To that end, I informed Goal’s board of directors last August of my intention to step down as CEO as soon as a suitable replacement could be identified.”
He has served as CEO of the charity for the last four years and will continue as interim CEO until his replacement is in situ at the start of next month.
“I will continue, in the meantime, to lead the senior management team, working closely with the board, and to provide the necessary assurances to our donors that will allow Goal to continue providing life-saving services to its 12m beneficiaries,” Mr Andrews said.
Last April, Goal and other charities were ordered to halt procurement in Syria using some US funds because the United States Agency for International Development had started an investigation into alleged bribery and bid-rigging.
Then last August, it emerged the Department of Foreign Affairs was withholding almost €3m in funding from the charity.
“The complaints from the Department of Foreign Affairs was that a story [in relation to the US investigation into Goal] appeared in the media and we didn’t give them notification about that in advance, for which we acknowledge we should have done that and we apologise for it,” said Mr Andrews last August.
Following Mr Andews’ statement yesterday, one was released by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan: “I have learned of the decision by Barry Andrews to stand down as CEO of Goal.
“I would like to acknowledge his personal contribution in the role over the past four years.
“I have been seriously concerned about the issues under investigation by the US relating to procurement practices for humanitarian assistance operations for Syria, since learning of the investigation at the end of April,” he added.
Mr Flanagan stated that more than €10m has been withheld from the Irish charity: “The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has withheld €10.1m in planned funding for Goal pending further clarity on the US investigation and on the plans of Goal.”
Goal chairwoman Anne O’Leary thanked Mr Andrews for his service to the charity, particularly following the departure of its founder and former CEO John O’Shea.
“Barry was appointed as CEO of Goal during a turbulent time in the organisation’s history.
“Not only was he largely responsible for helping stabilise the organisation in the months following his appointment; he also led Goal during a period of strong growth,” she said.