This strategy places a particular focus on our volunteers and their need for support and resourcing. This is to enable the delivery of their lifesaving services, community support activities and first aid training to the general public and our members. One beneficiary of Irish Red Cross voluntary activity is Siobhán Jordan from Dundalk who was present at today’s launch. Siobhán’s life was saved by Irish Red Cross volunteers at a half marathon last year after she went into cardiac arrest just moments before crossing the finish line. Siobhán was attended to by Irish Red Cross volunteers within 16 seconds of dropping to the ground and she said at the launch;
“My family were prepared for the worst. It was recommended that my brother fly home from New Zealand - which he did. Thank God, physically and mentally, I am fine. That's down to those guys getting to me so quickly. We go for runs up mountains, I go running on my own; it could have happened anywhere. Thank God the Irish Red Cross volunteers were there. I don't even know how you thank somebody for saving your life, but I thank them with everything I have.”
The new strategy sets out the ambition of the Irish Red Cross and gives direction to the Society for the next five years. Through the extensive consultation involved in the strategy development process, the Society has identified the need for more members and enhanced member supports, especially in the areas of training and IT. Other areas of focus for the next five years include resilience building in local communities, enhanced preparation for emergency response and the redevelopment of the Irish Red Cross international support infrastructure with a strong emphasis on policy promotion. Another critical goal is to ensure that the operation standards for the organisation and its members are in place to meet new and welcome regulatory standards. The overarching goal which ties this together is ensuring the sustainability of the organisation going forward.
Pat Carey, Chairman of the Irish Red Cross said at today’s launch; “This plan is both challenging and sustainable. It’s about how the Red Cross in Ireland manages its own present and future. I welcome the Strategy and thank the Strategy Development Group under the Chairmanship of Barry O’Donovan, our National Secretary. This group ensured the process of developing the Strategy was consultative. The hope is that the implementation of this plan will build an organisation faithful to the seven principles of the Red Cross and an even more effective support to Government and communities in Ireland and abroad.”
The strategy launch is the first in a series of celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of the Irish Red Cross. The Society was founded in 1939 and will celebrate its 80th birthday with the opening of our headquarters on Merrion Square for Culture Night from 20-21 September, showcasing exhibitions and hosting a series of talks. A new book, A History of the Irish Red Cross by Shane Lehane will also be launched over the Culture Night weekend.