Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Rugby star Trimble vows to carry on as ambassador for Oxfam despite recent scandal

By Alexander Britton

Ulster Rugby star Andrew Trimble has said he remains committed to Oxfam despite the charity being hit by scandal.

It is facing accusations that it covered up claims that staff used prostitutes while delivering aid in earthquake-stricken Haiti.

Trimble (33), who is from Coleraine, is an ambassador for Oxfam Ireland.

He told the Sunday Business Post: "Yes, I am committed to my role as Oxfam Ireland ambassador and look forward to building on the work we've done together."

It came as Oxfam's chief executive said the charity should have been more open about allegations of sexual abuse by its workers in Haiti.

Mark Goldring said the charity needed to "win back the trust" of the British people.

His apology in a column in the Sunday Mirror was of a different tone to the one struck on Friday, when Mr Goldring told the Guardian that critics were "gunning" for his organisation and suggested no-one had "murdered babies in their cots".

Mr Goldring will be hauled before MPs to answer questions about Oxfam's aid work on the Caribbean island, parts of which were devastated by an earthquake in 2011.

He wrote: "We are sorry for the mistakes we have made. We should have been more open with the public about the fact that staff in Haiti were fired for sexual abuse. And we should have expanded our safeguarding team faster."

He added: "As an organisation that fights for women's rights, the abuse of women in Oxfam's name is particularly hard to bear."

The head of Oxfam International described the damning sexual exploitation allegations it faces as a "stain" on the charity "that will shame us for years" as she announced plans to stamp out abuse in the organisation.

Executive director Winnie Byanyima promised to root out any wrongdoing at the charity and provide justice for anyone abused by its staff.

Mr Goldring echoed this, writing: "We know we need to learn and change.

"And we will listen every step of the way.

"We have made big improvements since 2011, including setting up a confidential whistleblowing hotline, but we know this is not enough.

"This week we have begun a plan of action to make sure we do everything we can to ensure that sexual exploitation doesn't happen under our watch. It is the generosity of the British people that has enabled us to grow and reach more and more people. We must win back their trust so that we can continue to deliver Oxfam's work which helped 11.6 million people last year."

Yesterday, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said defending the UK's foreign aid budget had been made harder by the Oxfam scandal.

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