“One cannot but feel some sympathy for Melanie Verwoerd who has not seen much justice in past months. Ms Verwoerd was first of all treated as the woman ‘on the side’ by Gerry Ryan who reputedly bequeathed nothing to her.

She has now been sacked by UNICEF because of the publicity surrounding Ryan’s death. If Ms Verwoerd is feeling angry, she has good reason to do so. As the ‘secondary’ woman in Ryan’s life, her personal investment in the relationship was, I am sure, far from being second best. UNICEF has now punished her further for this personal investment. A woman’s heart is her undoing in what is still very much a man’s world!”

Dr Florence Craven
Maynooth, Co Kildare

Irish Independent Letters
Earlier: Melanie Bites Back


29 thoughts on “Secondary Woman

  1. Bob-O

    Load of guff – can you blame UNICEF from not wanting to be associated with someone who’s main association in the public consciousness is “druggie Gerry Ryan lover” ?

    Also what the hell had Gerry left to bequeath anyway?

  2. Paulie Doohan

    How can you get fired because your husband died? It seems illegal and cruel. Sometimes the people working for charities can be very nasty

    1. Dan

      One of these days I will hunt down and kill everyone who has ever left a comment saying “I don’t care” after a story.

      If you don’t care, don’t leave a f***ing comment you dipstick.

  3. Since you asked like

    She doubled their income. That’s why you can blame UNICEF Ireland for firing her illegally.

    1. Dave, Dublin

      You’ve posted two stories about this, but I’m doubting you’ve read either.

      Quick summary: Primark were found by Panorama to be sourcing goods from Indian suppliers that used child labour. Primark immediately cancelled their contracts with these suppliers, set up a charitable organisation and appointed an agency to inspect their Indian supply chain. Bastards.

      1. iPaddy

        Thanks for the précis Dave. It was rather unnecessary. And, for clarity, Panorama had to apologise for using some faked footage in the documentary.

        The point is that husbands/wives/partners cannot be held responsible for the actions of their spouses/partners.

        1. Dave, Dublin

          So the answer to your question about why there hasn’t been any controversy about Alma Carroll’s work with UNICEF Ireland is that there is no controversy?

          1. iPaddy

            The answer is that there shouldn’t be. And UNICEF Ireland should be consistent in the matter. Especially seeing as Arthur Ryan’s wife is a member of the board that sacked their highly successful Executive Director because of her, dead, partner,

          2. Dave, Dublin

            How do you mean consistent? What did Arthur Ryan do wrong? You’ve admitted that Panorama used doctored footage. Primark responded to the allegations in a quick and admirable way. How does this reflect poorly on Alma Carroll or UNICEF Ireland?

            Now ask yourself, does Gerry Ryan’s death and his relationship with Melanie Verwoerd reflect poorly on UNICEF Ireland or could do in the future? Considering the Independent ran stories about his drug use alongside stories of Melanie’s work, I think UNICEF Ireland are justifiable worried this was the case. Presumably they feel her success can be replicated by whomever they appoint after her.

          3. iPaddy

            Eh, the BBC Trust found that some of the footage may have been faked but that other footage was definitely genuine.

            You keep on saying that coverage, which was only likely to diminish further as time wore on from G Ryan’s death, may have reflected poorly on UNICEF Ireland. There is absolutely no evidence of this whatsoever. At the height of the coverage (in the year after his death and around his inquest) the charity had a record year recording a 100 per cent increase in donations.

            As I’ve said, there is only one way of measuring how the public view a charity and that is in donations.

            The cack-handed way the board of UNICEF have handled this (not even having a media appeal out for the Horn of Africa) will lead to a flight of donations.

  4. HeebyGeeby

    The baby on Melanie’s lap is like “WTF Liam ???”.

    Tricky this, if her partner had been a child molester, of course they’d have to let her go. But he wasn’t, and they didn’t let her go, they sacked her.

    I hope she screws them over for unfair dismissal and takes over as CEO of the Irish Red Cross, which needs all the help it can get.

  5. Ninjaton

    Its a double disgrace. As she was only his girlfriend, I’m not sure she was even given the option of throwing herself on the funeral pyre. Man’s world alright.

    1. Dave, Dublin

      It’s strange that the only mentions of this telethon are in relation to your one’s sacking. I’d be surprised if the “planned telethon” ever got beyond the “talking shot over pints” stage.

  6. Trich

    When I read yesterday that Melanie was sacked by UNICEF, I was shocked. I feel she is being scapegoated by UNICEF! I also feel her sacking is a very poor reflection on UNICEF. Who was got at to sack Melanie? And why?

    My heart goes out to Melanie, whom I do not know btw. She is having the roughest of times, in a time, where she too is grieving the loss of a man she loved.

    Why are human being so cruel to kick another human being when they are most vulnerable? This is how I feel UNICEF have treated Melanie.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Melanie, God bless you & yours. I am sure you are a bigger person than those who sacked you. Keep faith in who you are.

  7. Caroline

    UNICEF has just taken a massive dump on its brand in Ireland. Good thinking, chaps. Cigars all round.

  8. Prada Meinhof

    If a member of the ANC can run this gig, then I think on ideological continuance grounds that it only fair that SF be given a crack at the job opening. Or possibly someone from Dunnes, just for historical nuance, like. Toss up between Margaret Heffernan and Mary Lou McDonald, so.

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