Irish Red Cross Chairman David Andrews is to retire from the position in December.

Mr Andrews has served nearly ten years in the post and was re-appointed as recently as this summer.

The former Minister for Foreign Affairs was first nominated as chairman to the Central Council of the Irish Red Cross in May 2000, and served three three-year terms in the position.

In May of this year he was re-appointed chairman for a fourth term, which was due to continue until April 2012.

But a spokesperson for Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea confirmed that he received a letter from Mr Andrews on Friday 6 November stating his intention to retire next month.

It is understood Mr Andrews and Mr O'Dea will hold a meeting this week.

In recent months, there have been allegations of poor governance in the society.

Earlier this year, a member of the central council, barrister Jenny Bulbulia, resigned expressing concern over accountability and transparency issues.

An internal committee has been examining governance issues and is expected to report soon.