The Government has approved four appointments to the General Assembly of the Red Cross.

They include former Minister of State Mary Flaherty; a former Ambassador to Australia and Argentina, Mairtin O'Fainin; and Mayor of Clonmel Darren Ryan, a Labour County Councillor who has had a long association with the Red Cross.

Cathal Duffy, a senior civil servant at the Department of Defence, has been re-appointed.

Minister for Justice, Equality & Defence Alan Shatter said that following recent changes to Red Cross legislation, the Government is appointing "these high-calibre individuals" as a further important step in restoring the full confidence of the public in the Irish Red Cross Society.

Mr Shatter said the steps that have been taken by the Government are the most wide-ranging and fundamental set of changes to have occurred in the long history of the society, and provide for corporate governance arrangements that now bring the society into the 21st century.