New boss will lead the reform of Goal

Aid agency Goal is to make a series of changes to its internal checks and controls in the wake of the investigation by its US donors into allegations of fraud and bribery in some of its operations in Syria.
New boss will lead the reform of Goal

The embattled agency, which has had some USAid and Irish Aid funding withheld pending the outcome of the probe, yesterday announced the appointment of an external management consultant as its general manager for the next year.

Celine Fitzgerald, whose background is in outsourcing and the telecommunications industry, will take up the position on November 1. She stands in for chief executive Barry Andrews, who announced he was standing down to give the organisation a fresh start.

Ms Fitzgerald, who will launch an open recruitment campaign for a new chief executive, will also oversee the implementation of an action plan to address weaknesses identified in an independent consultants report commissioned by Goal after the US investigation began.

The plan includes creating a new position of senior complaints response director; the establishment of a counter-fraud unit within the organisation; and the strengthening of the finance team.

New procedures to support whistleblowers will also be introduced, and the procedures for monitoring spend and procurement in emergency response operations will be tightened up.

Goal said yesterday it still did not know when the US investigation, which centres on allegations of bid-rigging for supplies bought for Syria, would be complete but the action plan would be rolled out immediately.

Goal chairwoman, Anne O’Leary, said: “The next 12 months will be critical for Goal as we seek to regain and consolidate the trust of our donors and the general public while continuing with the implementation of our aid programmes.

Barry Andrews
Barry Andrews

“I am delighted that someone of Celine’s experience is joining the organisation at this important juncture. Given the changes and additions we are making at management level within the organisation in the coming weeks, it is important that we appoint someone with experience and competence in the field of change management to oversee this period.”

Ms Fitzgerald has worked in the private sector for the past 30 years, holding management positions at Eircell, Vodafone, and outsourcing business Rigney Dolphin, where she was chief executive for five years prior to her departure in 2012.

She has since set up her own consulting business, Integro Consulting. She also sits on the boards of health insurer VHI, gas and water semi-state Ervia, and the non-profit educational organisation An Cosán. In the past, she was a board member of development agency Nurture Africa, and a director of organisational development at Trócaire.

“I have admired the work of Goal from afar for many years and I am acutely aware of the great work that the organisation does with millions of vulnerable people across the world,” she said.

“It is critical that we sort out the issues facing Goal during my one-year tenure and ensure that the people on the front line, whether in head office or in the field can get back to doing what they do best.”

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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