John O'Shea (humanitarian)
|Born||1944 (age 73–74)
|Education||CBC Monkstown Park|
|Alma mater||University College Dublin|
|Occupation||Founder & former CEO of the charitable organisation
GOAL (1977-), former Sports Journalist
|Known for||Prominent humanitarian in Ireland|
John O'Shea (born 1944) is founder and former CEO of GOAL, an Irish non-governmental organization devoted to assisting the poorest of the poor. His first career was as a sports journalist and GOAL retains significant links to the sporting community, especially in Ireland.
Early life and career
O'Shea was born in County Limerick in 1944 and lived in Westport and in Cork. His father, a banker, moved the family to Dublin when he was age 11. He was schooled in CBC Monkstown and was a sports fanatic playing rugby at school and a keen golfer and tennis player in Monkstown. O'Shea remains a keen fan of rugby, tennis and golf, playing tennis every Saturday and also giving opinions on Irish sports to radio and newspapers. O'Shea went on to study Economics, English and Philosophy at University College Dublin and had a career as a sports journalist in the Evening Press for many years after meeting Tim Pat Coogan whilst studying.
In 1977, he began his charitable organisation with a 10,000 punts donation for a feeding project in Calcutta after which O'Shea founded GOAL. The charity has a major sporting backbone. John McEnroe, Pat Cash and Gordon D'Arcy are amongst the sportstars to have become "Goalies"(volunteers).
In its 36 years of operation, GOAL has distributed €790 million and has had over 1,400 volunteers. It has operated in over 50 countries worldwide. O'Shea sites watching the "Goalies" working around the world as the best part of his years involved in the charity. O'Shea believes that governments of developed countries should be far more involved in the distribution of aid. Speaking on a tribute to his work in GOAL in 2007 on Ireland foremost chat show-The Late Late Show, O'Shea said;
|“||They were writing cheques and saying "it was nothing to do with us"...To help the poor, you've got to love the poor and this is why governments have failed. They talk about the poor, they issue statements about the poor but you don't get the feeling that Mandela had for his people, because he loved his people. We don't have people of that stature, we don't have people of that moral fibre at the top||”|
|— Speaking on the reaction of the first world to the 2005 tsunami on The Late Late Show|
|“||'There is a fire raging - we need someone to put out the fire not hand out chocolate||”|
|— Speaking about Live 8 and its failure to tackle corruption in Africa in distributing aid to The Guardian|
A sometimes controversial figure, O'Shea is known for his forthright public statements, particularly when he feels political correctness is getting in the way of assisting those in need, and a hands on approach to tackling poverty related issues. He has been criticised by some in the INGO community for advocating military invasion and intervention in Sudan by the US, UK and NATO, under the guise of humanitarian intervention. He has also been critical of perceived inaction by the UN in humanitarian crisis' in conflict zones  and of governmental aid agencies in giving aid directly to allegedly corrupt African governments. John O'Shea has advocated using private companies to provide aid and military forces to directly force aid on countries. Most other Irish Aid agencies disagree stating that every type of aid channels must be used and have described his policies as re-colonisation.
His stance has drawn praise with the Vice Chancellor of the Open University which awarded him an honorary doctorate, John Naughton stating; "“He [John O’Shea] says openly that Western aid ought not to be channelled to governments that are proven to be either corrupt or brutal – and he is happy to name those regimes. Plain speaking of this order is not usually a way to win friends and influence people. But it has influenced us, which is why we honour him today."
Additionally his salary has garnered criticisms in some quarters.
O'Shea's list of achievements and awards include: the People of the Year Awards 1987 and 1992, The Ballygowan Outstanding Achievement Award 1988, MIR Award 1992, The Late Late Show Tribute 1995 and 2007, Texaco Outstanding Achievement Award 1995 and the Tipperary International Peace Award 2003, Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2005.
John O'Shea currently gives talks at NUI Galway and interpersonal skills class UCD. He has become involved with the university for a few years where he shares his story. He is an advocate for social(non-profit) entrepreneurs and tries to convince students to go down that path.
Notes and references
- http://www.rte.ie/ten/2010/0322/irelandsgreatestfigures.html Shortlist to find Ireland's greatest person
- https://www.tribune.ie/article/2004/jul/25/goal-mouth/[permanent dead link]
- "30th anniversary of GOAL". Archived from the original on 20 November 2007.
- "Live 8 logic attracts criticism". BBC News. 10 June 2005. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008.
- "Succession plan in place at GOAL: Chairman". RTÉ News. 6 February 2012.
- "RTE News". News website. 8 November 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2016 – via www.rte.ie.
- interaction.org/newswire - "The UK and US Must Immediately Take Unilateral Action to Prevent Further Tragedy in Darfur" 18 September 2006 Archived 9 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- interaction.org/newswire - GOAL USA - "NATO's Reluctance to Deploy Troops to Darfur Region is a Missed Opportunity" 17 February 2006 Archived 10 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "GOAL is calling on the Bush Government to be prepared to send in the US army as a last resort." John O'Shea. GOAL: D-Day for the UN, 29 August 2006 Archived 10 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- interaction.org/newswire - GOAL: D-Day for the UN, 29 August 2006 Archived 10 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- AID AT GUNPOINT? John O'Shea's dangerous simpliticies, 31 December 2005
- GOAL 2008 Annual Report
- Burke, Roisin (2 May 2010). "How Much Does Giving Really Cost?". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
|Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year