2019 marks the 80th anniversary of the Irish Red Cross and celebrations kicked off with the launch of the new Irish Red Cross strategy by Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe TD at Irish Red Cross head office earlier this week.
Celebrations will continue with the opening of our headquarters on Merrion Square on Culture Night (Friday 20 September) and Saturday 21 September. There will be exhibitions on display while the Society will host a series of talks. Shane Lehane’s book A History of the Irish Red Cross will also be launched over the Culture Night weekend. This is an assessment of the role, work and historical impact of the Irish Red Cross Society from a national perspective, since its establishment in 1939. Lehane’s study documents the Irish Red Cross in great detail, accounting for its accomplishments and highlighting the difficulties the Society faced along the way.
As well as the launch of Lehane’s study, Jim Houlihan will also be presenting on the Cáin Aomnáin, the “law for innocents” which originated in Birr Co. Offaly in 697 AD and is considered to be one of the first laws ever enacted for the protection of non-combatants in war. Each year the Irish Red Cross hosts an annual competition called the Corn Adomnáin, based on the legacy of the rules enacted in Birr all those centuries ago. This competition brings learning outside of the classroom through the use of role play and negotiations.
The Irish Red Cross also hopes to host an event at the end of 2019 celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions – the basis of modern international humanitarian law and a hugely important part of the work of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
Later in the year the Society will also present Irish Red Cross overseas delegate Vivien Lusted with the 2019 Florence Nightingale medal, which was awarded to her earlier this year for her enormous contributions to the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
The year promises to be an exciting time for the Irish Red Cross as we celebrate our achievements and look towards the future in mapping out how we will navigate the coming years.