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INTERVIEW Keeping life in order



Putting theory into practiceEimear Morrin from the Ballinrobe Order of Malta.
Eimear Morrin from the Ballinrobe Order of Malta. ?Pic: Elizabeth Toher

Keeping life in order

Ciara Galvin

HOW would you react if you were the first person on the scene of an accident, or if a loved one required immediate medical attention. Would you know what to do?
For 17-year-old Eimear Morrin, that scenario became a reality last May when her mother suddenly collapsed suffering from a brain aneurysm. Eimear, then just 16, her twin brother Seán and their younger brother Michael, set about doing all they could to tend to their mother until the emergency services arrived.
Five months on, and sitting in the impressive Order of Malta building in Ballinrobe, the fifth year student, who is also Order of Malta Cadet of the Year, is reluctant to talk of that day in May. She is keen to take the focus from herself and shine it on her fellow cadets in the Unit. Her modesty shines through as she begins talking about how she joined and how it has shaped her as a person. This young lady is most definitely not one to seek recognition, even when it is more than well deserved.

Better Together
But, in order to raise awareness of what it is the Order of Malta does and show the importance of learning basic life-saving skills, Eimear’s story is currently part of an Order of Malta video which is in the running for the ‘Better Together’ video competition.
‘Better Together’ is a nationwide campaign which aims to build support for hundreds of charities, community groups, clubs and associations across the country, by encouraging the public to support these causes.
Eimear joined the Order of Malta five years ago. After always having an interest in first aid and hearing about what the voluntary organisation did, she decided to come along to a training session. Since then, Eimear admits she has grown in confidence from meeting people, and talking in front of groups.
“I suppose I wouldn’t have been the most outgoing person when I first joined, but I’ve met so many people. That’s the most thing about it, my confidence. I wouldn’t have thought years ago that I would be standing up and talking in front of anybody for two minutes, never mind an hour and a half a week.”
Since turning 17, Eimear has joined the senior unit of the Order of Malta and is now helping to train younger cadets.
“It’s a great experience to see them learning and progressing...there’s great camaraderie, everybody is there to help each other.”
For Eimear, her training was crucial in helping her deal with the emergency that hit the Morrin household last May.
“It was great that I was able to use my training and at the time I probably didn’t realise what I was doing but it just comes to you. We do scenes here and we do them so many times so that when you go to a scene you know exactly what to do without even thinking.”
The astute cadet says she went into a zone and rather than concentrating on what was happening she set about doing all she could to help, along with her twin Seán, who is also trained in first aid, and 13-year-old brother Michael who contacted the emergency services.
“You just sort of go into a different zone, that’s the only way I can explain it. You don’t make a connection with the person, I think you just get into it,” explains Eimear.

Being a cadet in the Order of Malta has made Eimear and fellow cadets aware of their role in the community, whether it is dealing with an accident, or helping out at events. “If someone fell you’d be aware that rather than picking them up straight away, to kind of give it a minute and assess the situation.”
Being a cadet in the Ballinrobe Unit doesn’t just see members train in first aid, they also do enormous work in the community, including visiting the local nursing home regularly and participating in local masses.
Speaking to people out there, young and not so young, who, don’t have any first aid training, Eimear says simply, ‘Join, even just to do a first aid course’.
“It’s worth it. I think everyone should have first aid really. You never know when you’re going to come across a scene or an accident, it might be a small thing but to be able to deal with it is very important.”Could we be seeing Eimear in the future in a healthcare role? Well, she’s not ruling it out entirely.
“I think I’ll always keep involved in the Order of Malta and progress through that, but I think I might go into something along those lines. I don’t know.”
I for one, would feel pretty relaxed and assured knowing that some day Eimear could be working at the coalface of the emergency services or in the healthcare system.