Royal British Legion president in Republic suspended

The Queen meets Major General David O'Morchoe, the President of the Royal British Legion in the Republic of Ireland, during the royal visit to Coleraine.
The Queen meets Major General David O'Morchoe, the President of the Royal British Legion in the Republic of Ireland, during the royal visit to Coleraine.

The Royal British Legion officer who is credited with reinventing the organisation’s image in the Republic of Ireland has been suspended from the organisation.

Republic of Ireland district president, retired British Army major general David O’Morchoe from Gorey, Co Wexford, showed the Queen around the Irish National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge in Dublin during her State visit in 2011.

In a statement the Royal British Legion (RBL) said the 88-year-old former officer, often known as ‘The O’Morchoe’, had tendered his resignation after being suspended.

A spokeswoman for the RBL said: “A complaint was received from a member of staff regarding the conduct of the Royal British Legion’s Republic of Ireland district president, Maj Gen (Rtd) David O’Morchoe.

“The O’Morchoe is a highly respected senior member of legion and his work for the charity is greatly valued, however all complaints must be carefully examined and we are grateful to The O’Morchoe and the staff member for their patience while this process is completed.

“In this case, in order not to prejudice the investigation of the complaint, The O’Morchoe was suspended from office for a period of 90 days whereupon he tendered his immediate resignation as district president.”

He was later allowed to retract his resignation. After his suspension, Mr O’Morchoe wrote an email to the legion’s 600 members in the Republic saying he was resigning because he had been suspended “as a result of various complaints made against me”.

He added: “I consider that this has left me in a position such that whatever the result of any investigations I could not with honour recover my position as president and continue as if nothing had happened.”

He thanked members for helping achieve the “honourable position” in which the legion is now held in the Republic.

“This is most evident in the way that remembrance by the legion of those who were swept under the carpet and are now being remembered, and about whom books are being written and memorials are being erected, is flourishing,” he added.

A member of the RBL in Northern Ireland said much of the row relates to the internal Pathways to Change strategy which is being implemented across the organisation.

“Most workers on the ground are retirees and are not really computer literate, but this strategy is sidelining them because of this,” he said.

The RBL offered no further comment last night.