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McKeefry Banner – January 2017

Irish charity GOAL to cut jobs in London and Dublin after challenging year amidst funding investigation

File Photo Barry Andrews Resigns From Charity Goal. 26/2/2011 Counting the votes in the general election in Dun Laoghaire. Fianna Fail Minister of Children Barry Andrews TD, represented in the Dun Laoghaire Constituency, at the counting of votes in the general election in the Dun Laoghaire count centre at the Loughlinstown Leisure Centre today (26/2/2011) where he conceded defeat. Photo. Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie
Former GOAL CEO Barry Andrews resigned in October after he said the charity required fresh leadership. (Picture: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie)

IRISH global aid charity GOAL has announced it is cutting up to 25 jobs across the Dublin and London offices due to ‘tighter funding’ as the investigation into their aid to Syria continues.

Staff were formally informed of the redundancy proposals in writing by GOAL management on Wednesday, January 4.

GOAL confirmed in April 2016, that it was cooperating in an on-going investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in the US.

The investigation is into supply chain irregularities relating to US-sponsored aid programmes in Syria.

The aid programme in Syria, which started in 2012, is the largest in GOAL’s history, with the focus on delivering food and non-food items, benefitting over two million people.

Now, the much tighter funding environment for GOAL in 2017 is reflected in the charity prioritising its global humanitarian relief programmes.

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GOAL aid volunteers in Syria. (Picture: GOAL Global Flickr)

In an effort to avoid compulsory redundancies, a two-week voluntary redundancy application period has been opened for all staff, meaning each member of staff who either volunteers or is selected for redundancy will be entitled to a statutory redundancy package.

The charity also confirmed that potential redundancies would take place on or around March 1.

Ervia. Picture by Shane O'Neill / Copyright Fennell Photography 2015.
General Manager of GOAL Celine Fitzgerald said 2016 was challenging for the charity. (Picture:Shane O’Neill/Fennell Photography)

Commenting on the redundancies, Celine Fitzgerald, General Manager of GOAL, said last year was “challenging” for the aid charity.

“2016 was a challenging year for GOAL as we sought to continue our relief efforts whilst also taking significant steps to restore the confidence of our donors in our systems, controls and management capacity.

“The last number of weeks have seen substantive progress in that regard with Irish Aid taking the welcome decision to resume payments to GOAL of almost €4million in funds due for 2016, and USAID recently approving the awarding of a grant to GOAL for our programmes in Honduras, Ethiopia and Sudan.

“Despite this progress and ongoing discussions with our major donors in respect of future funding we need to develop a more sustainable cost base to support our ongoing humanitarian relief efforts and regrettably, this is likely to involve some redundancies,” Ms Fitzgerald added.

In October this year, Barry Andrews stepped down as the CEO of GOAL as he felt the charity required a “fresh start” after the aid investigation.

“The circumstances of the OIG 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.

“I do not for one moment resent the robust examination of our donor partners and if we are serious about retaining public trust and managing large sums of taxpayers’ money, then this 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.

“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 in August of my intention to step down as CEO as soon as a suitable replacement could be identified.”

GOAL appointed independent auditors, BDO, in April last year to carry out an internal investigation on behalf of GOAL.

A GOAL spokesman confirmed BDO’s investigation is now complete and their findings have been made available to their key donors, including USAID and Irish Aid.

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Kelly Bar – MPU – January

Erica Doyle Higgins
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Erica Doyle Higgins is a Digital Reporter with The Irish Post. You can follow her on Twitter @EDoyleHiggins

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