The Red Cross in Castlebar - Centenary
This week, a hundred years ago, a largely attended public meeting was held in the Courthouse, Castlebar for the purpose of taking steps to form a branch of the Red Cross Association to cater for the needs of local soldiers who might become wounded during the Great War which had just commenced a few weeks previous.
The Rev. J. A. Lendrum took the chair and expressed hope that the war would be over within six months. He stated that the whole town, with bands playing had come out a week ago to wish godspeed to the reservists heading off to fight. The handshake they gave the soldiers at Castlebar Station may be the last they ever give them and he said that some may return home maimed and crippled.
Mr T H Gillespie, Castlebar and Mr. P Higgins, Ballyheane were appointed joint Secretaries and Judge Browne, Rahins was appointed Treasurer. They also agreed to fundraise and to seek membership subscriptions of five shillings or more from all in attendance.
A Ladies' Executive Committee was also formed with the following appointed; Mrs. Browne, Breaghwy; Mrs. Browne, Rahins; Mrs. Larminie; Mrs. Wells; Mrs. Houlihan; Mrs. Lendrum; Mrs. Sheridan, Mrs. MaCaulay and Miss Gibbons. This was to assist and aid the dependents of those who were called to the front.
A concert and variety show was arranged a week later and held in the Town Hall, Castlebar to raise funds. Prior to the opening, the Brass Band of the Temperance Society, under the conductorship of John P Mullins paraded through the streets of the town and played for the first time a specially arranged march ‘Caisleán an Bharraigh'. Amongst the singers included locals; M J Egan, Kathleen McLynskey, Mrs. H R Sheridan, Maudie Young and Emma Reid, daughter of the proprietor of the Imperial Hotel. Miss Alice Horgan, daughter of Mr. Horgan, D.I., danced an Irish jig and Mr. Hales, the Postmaster brought the house down with his singing. A total of £12 was collected from its first fundraiser.
Nationally, The Irish Red Cross Society was formally established by Nurse Elizabeth O'Herrin of Dublin City Hospital on 1 July 1939 and its constitution is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 (the Geneva Conventions), to which Ireland is a party, Acts of the Oireachtas and relevant provisions of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Back row: Joe McLynskey, John O'Malley, John Flannelly, Jimmy Connor, ____, Harry Ainsworth, Mick Dunne, Martin O'Neill, Pat McGreal, William Downes, E.Lyons, John Gallagher, Walter Bourke. Second row: John McLoughlin, _____, TJ Armstrong, John Quinn, Anthony Loftus, Eddie Lennon, Tommy Hamrock, Eddie O'Malley, Tommy Hamrock Jnr, Tommy Mitchell, J. Garvey, Pat Conway, Jim Smith. Third row: Jack Farnan, Sam McCormack, Anthony McHale, Paddy Horkan, John Bourke, Sean Walsh, William McLynskey, Paddy Dunne, Paddy Heneghan, William Doyle, John Tierney, Sonny Horan. Fourth row: John McCormack, Anthony Hynes, Alfie Johnson, TH Gillespie, Pat Griffin, PA Horkan, Pat Concannon, Dr. Faulkner, William Staunton, Tom McCarthy, Maurice Dunne, Michael Harrison. Front row: Tommy Ainsworth, Tom Guthrie, Jim Scott, Paddy Brady, Willie Cresham, John Walsh, John Forkan, Mickie Cahill, John Dargan, Paddy Ainsworth, George Lane, Joe Chambers, George Smyth, P McAndrew, Jimmy Horkan, Bandleader. The five youngsters are; Frank Ruane, Joe Conway, Tom Brady, Jimmy Rainsford & William Chambers.