Former minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs Pat Carey was elected on Saturday Chair of the Irish Red Cross for a three-year term. He succeeds David J O’Callaghan, former secretary general at the Department of Defence (1995 – 2004).
Mr O’Callaghan has completed his tenure on the Irish Red Cross Board of Directors as Chairman. Mr Carey was elected Chair unanimously in a vote of the Irish Red Cross General Assembly.
The Irish Red Cross is one of the biggest community organisations in the country and has a unique role in community action, auxiliary services, national advocacy and international humanitarian aid.
Mr Carey has experience ideally suited to the functions and future direction of the Irish Red Cross.
His background in the area of overseas development; and in the community and voluntary sector are a perfect fit. His work in these areas and in education and charity regulation are assets for the society as we extend our reach in support of vulnerable communities locally, nationally and internationally.
Mr Carey takes up the role at a time when the Irish Red Cross is involved in running programmes abroad in Niger, Philippines, the Palestinian Territories and India and has funding appeals for Nepal, Syria and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
He will oversee the ongoing implementation of the society’s five-year strategy which includes:
• sustaining our role as a primary volunteer first-response agency
•mapping local vulnerabilities and developing appropriate responses
•strengthening governance and organisational structures
•advocating at national and international level for better humanitarian and disaster-relief policy
•providing financial and human resources for Red Cross Movement interventions internationally
•developing programmes with partners internationally in support of vulnerable communities
The Irish Red Cross has a cohort of 379 Emergency Medical Technicians and 548 Emergency First Responders. It is the country's leading first aid educator, issuing over 12,000 first aid related training certificates each year.
As part of the international Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the society is also involved in international law advocacy and the Restoring Family Links programme which reunites families separated by disaster, migration and conflict.
At home, the Irish Red Cross runs numerous programmes including emergency response units; first aid training and provision; a range of social and first aid youth activities; community care programmes; and an award-winning prison programme.