From August to early October, John Healy, a third year Law and Accounting student, completed an internship with the Red Cross EU Office, as a fellow of the inaugural Iveagh Fellowship programme supported by Saothar and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The fellowship aspires to develop experience in International development or humanitarian aid and European or International policy.
John was selected in May, following a selection by an Expert Panel led by Chief Justice Frank Clarke. Fellows are awarded a monetary grant and mentoring support from experts. The completion of an internship is inherent to the fellowship, with other fellows completing their internships with the World Bank, World Health Organisation and one even choosing to take up a research opportunity in Oxford.
The Red Cross EU Office situated in Brussels, clearly offers no better place to gain experience in European policy, with the office beset in the scene of European Institutions, between the Berlaymont and the European Parliament. The experience has been somewhat full circle for him, from a young cadet with Irish Red Cross – the Red Cross EU Office – now returning to work with the Irish Red Cross.
The purpose of the Red Cross EU office is to represent some 28 European National Societies and the International Federation of the Red Cross, which in itself has given John great exposure to topic areas and programmes. John’s time was spent aiding and delivering welcome packs to MEPs in Parliament and promoting Red Cross priorities. He had input into legal projects and reports regarding topics as varied as: sexual violence in disaster and humanitarian contexts; and legal barriers to implementing cash programmes or the sui generis status of Red Cross National Societies in national provisions to act independently as an auxiliary.
John summed up his experience. “I can definitely say that undertaking this fellowship has unearthed a lot of possible career opportunities. The ability to have relevant international work experience is a clear hurdle that I have overcome entering this area at a very early stage. The exposure in the internship and mentoring - to what is a very broad career prospect has been of particular benefit; in that this will give me plenty of time to plan ahead to further a career. Finally, the fellowship offers the other fellows, the coordinators and mentors as a very important network going forward, which should not be understated.”