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There will be a talk in Belfast on 9 August on Sligo-born nurse Ruth Ormsby and on medical aid from Ireland and elsewhere in the Spanish Civil War.

The speaker will be Johnny Gogan and the event will be chaired by Unison Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown.

It is being organised by the IBMT-affiliated International Brigade Commemoration Committee (IBCC) as part of the annual Féile an Phobail arts festival. 

It takes place from12pm-2.30pm at the Shankill Road Library, 298-300 Shankill Road, Belfast BT13 2BN. Admission is free and no booking is required. A light lunch will be available at 12pm. 

After the talk, flowers will be laid at the International Brigade memorial in Writer’s Square. Contact Lynda and Ernest Walker of the IBCC for more information.

Ruth Ormsby was a nurse from Dronmore West, Sligo, who served with a ground- breaking medical unit that formed part of the International Brigades fighting against fascism in Spain from 1936-39. 

Medics from all over Ireland, including an interesting connection with Belfast, were part of this largely unexplored aspect of the Spanish Civil War.

Johnny Gogan.

Born Hannah Ruth Ormsby in 1901, she trained as a nurse in Glasgow and worked in a neurological hospital in London before travelling to Spain.

She arrived in Spain on 18 April 1937 and was killed on 4 May 1938, aged 37, in a fire in a British Medical Unit flat in Barcelona. She was the only Irish woman to be killed in Spain.

Johnny Gogan is a film-maker and novelist. As an award-winning filmmaker, his internationally distributed works include Netflix titles ‘Black Ice’ and ‘Hubert Butler: Witness to the Future’. He is currently working on ‘Behind the Lines’, a documentary film about Ruth Ormsby.

The sketch of Ruth Ormsby is courtesy of Unison.

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