Barry Andrews has resigned as chief executive of Goal as the aid agency reels from a US investigation into its multimillion-euro Syria operation, The Irish Times has learned.
Mr Andrews, a former Fianna Fáil minister who took the helm at the organisation in 2013, informed the Goal board in August of his intention to step down as soon as his successor could be identified. That appointment will be made in the coming days.
His departure comes as Ireland’s biggest aid agency grapples with a crisis surrounding a US investigation into its aid operation in Syria. The US government’s foreign aid arm, USAID, earlier this year told Goal and a number of other agencies in the field to halt certain procurement with American funds pending the outcome of its inquiry into alleged bribery and bid-rigging involving suppliers on the Turkey-Syria border.
The investigation, which is being carried out by the US Office of the Inspector General (OIG), has resulted in the Department of Foreign Affairs withholding 110 million in funding from Goal. The chief operating officer, Jonathan Edgar, who was a highly influential figure at the agency, resigned last month.
In a statement to The Irish Times last night, in response to questions about imminent changes at senior levels in the agency, Mr Andrews confirmed he was stepping down after concluding that Goal needed “a fresh start in terms of leadership”.