Commemoration Medals for Irish Red Cross Volunteers
Specially designed medals were presented to Irish Red Cross volunteers for their role in the official 1916 commemoration parades and events that took place around Ireland this year.

To mark the centenary of the Easter Rising, Irish Red Cross volunteers marched in the Dublin Easter Commemoration Parade, a special event in Croke Park, parade in Enniscorthy, and a commemoration parade in Kerry.

Medals were presented following the Irish Red Cross General Assembly meeting in Dublin on Saturday, 10th December. Pat Carey, Chairman of the charity, presented the medals to the volunteers and also a certificate of service to staff member Sandra Stanley for 30 years of dedication to the Irish Red Cross.

1916 Rising and the Red Cross Response

Among the rubble and chaos of Easter week 1916 was the reliable and steady reassurance of a familiar and trusted emblem. The Red Cross.

When fighting broke out in Dublin, volunteers from the Red Cross would have already been busy organising aid and relief items for those coping with the aftermath World War I.  Undeterred by their already stretched resources and stirred to act by the rising number of causalities, Red Cross volunteers, together with other voluntary aid detachments of the time, quickly put together a plan.
A temporary auxiliary hospital was opened in the Red Cross – St John’s Ambulance war hospital supplies depot at 40 Merrion Square, just a few meters from where the Irish Red Cross office sits today. Medical supplies were found and distributed for immediate use.

Volunteers were soon transporting the wounded to safety.  The Red Cross’ guiding principles of Impartiality and Neutrality ensured that all those wounded were treated; rebels, soldiers and civilians alike.

In response to the rapidly filling hospitals, the Red Cross set about converting large halls and homes into temporary hospitals. Private homes on Ailesbury Road and Fitzwilliam Square housed scores of patients.  All cared for by Red Cross staff and volunteers.  Recognising a growing need, running parallel with that of first aid provision, Red Cross personnel took to the streets again, providing meals to evacuated civilians in shelters.

One hundred years on, volunteers of the Irish Red Cross continue in the humanitarian footsteps of those who treated injuries and passed out hot broths in 1916. Ireland now boast more than 4,000 Red Cross volunteers and their range of skills and services have grown to match the needs of the vulnerable in their communities.

Some continue with the role of first aid provider, caring for the sick and injured at public events, sports games and celebrations. Now, the charity also trains others in the skills of first aid (approximately 10,000 people in Ireland each year) empowering ordinary people with the skills to save lives.  The Irish Red Cross’ charity network provides mountain and lake rescue, skin camouflage, auxiliary support to the state during national emergencies such as flooding, support for migrants in Ireland and an award winning prison health programme.

For more information on Irish Red Cross programmes and services see www.redcross.ie/programmes-and-services

Among the rubble and chaos of Easter week 1916 was the reliable and steady reassurance of a familiar and trusted emblem. The Red Cross.

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