Volunteer commitment during floods epitomised Red Cross’s growing credibility

Volunteer work over the past 12 months gave the Government confidence to call upon the Irish Red Cross to take up two vital tasks as a national auxiliary this year, according to Secretary General Liam O’Dwyer.

In a seasonal message to volunteers, Mr O’Dwyer noted that Irish Red Cross had been called upon to administer the humanitarian scheme for small business affected by recent flooding after our relief operations had been underway for several days.

“The year ended with the focus firmly back on home soil as units in Westmeath, Mayo, Galway, Cork, Kerry, Offaly and Laois attracted hugely positive feedback for their humanitarian commitment during the recent floods. I have no doubt this is why the Government called upon our services again, this time in administering the €5-million Small Business Humanitarian Relief Scheme,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

Irish Red Cross uniformed and non-uniformed members and vehicles, were active in Cork, Kerry, Westmeath, Clare, Limerick, Galway and Mayo. Roscommon, Cavan, Meath and Tipperary Areas have been on internal standby and Offaly and Laois Areas provided support to colleagues in Westmeath and Mayo.

The responses included transporting twelve residents of Blackrocks nursing home in Foxford, Co Mayo due to flooding. Evacuations were also carried out in Bandon, Athlone and on the Limerick/Clare border. Many householders were assisted in other ways such as arranging water pumps; transportation; collection and delivery of goods; and provision of food parcels, water and disinfectant.

The Irish Red Cross was appointed to the National Emergency Coordination Group during the floods and National Director of Units Tony Lawlor met with the Major Emergency Management Office.

At local level, Irish Red Cross officers worked in close co-operation with the HSE, Gardaí, Fire Brigade, Social Protection offices, Local Authorities and voluntary services.

The assignment of the Irish Red Cross to administer the €5 million scheme for small businesses followed the society’s appointment by Government to the Irish Refugee Protection Programme Taskforce in September.

One of the key tasks for the society was to coordinate voluntary offers of help for refugees arriving in Ireland next year.

“I think Government took notice of our work on the ground locally over the years and decided we had the skills, commitment and capacity to carry out this important task,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

Athlone flood by child sign (2)