Pilot Tony McAtear with CEO of the ICRR Mícheál Sheridan. Photo: Darragh Kane

ICCR meeting with health minister 'positive'

The Irish Community Rapid Response Air Ambulance is hoping to secure Government funding following a meeting this week with the Health Minister.

The Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) Air Ambulance, based in Rathcoole, works in tandem with the National Ambulance Service to provide both paramedic support and transport to hospital for seriously ill patients.

A virtual meeting was held this week where the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly was told about how vital the ICRR Air Ambulance is.

CEO of the ICRR, Mícheál Sheridan told the newspaper: “We had a very productive meeting this week with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. We explained to the Minister the vital role that our community air ambulance is playing in saving lives and that impact that is having on families in communities across Munster.”

Mr Sheridan added: “He has pledged to look at how he can support us in the near future. The meeting was very positive and we are hoping that we can secure Government funding for this very vital service.”

The ICRR Air Ambulance can bring casualties to the hospital that best suits their life saving needs, not just the closest geographically.

From the base in North Cork, the ICRR Air Ambulance can put a 25,000km2 area within 30 minutes of emergency medical care. The ICRR Air Ambulance is staffed by advanced paramedics and EMTs from the National Ambulance Service.

Mr Sheridan said: “The air ambulance services in the UK and Northern Ireland both recently received government funding and we are hopeful for the same here in Ireland.

“We are very grateful to the Minister and Deputy Michael Moynihan for taking the time to meet with us and we look forward to working in close cooperation with the Government,” he concluded.

The ICRR Air Ambulance was tasked to 490 incidents across 13 counties in Ireland during 2020, which was its first entire year in operation.

Figures from the ICRR show that July was the single busiest month, with it being tasked a total of 59 times.

Road traffic accidents account for the most incidents, with a total of 94 taskings throughout the year.

Amongst the other incidents responded to were:

81 cardiac arrests

74 general trauma calls

73 general medical calls

46 farming accidents

29 falls from heights

While Cork, Kerry and Waterford were the counties most likely to require the service, the Air Ambulance also provided support to counties Tipperary, Clare, Wexford, Limerick, Leitrim, Kildare, Kilkenny, Offaly, Roscommon and Galway.