Community Air Ambulance Pilot Tony McAleer with children from St Brendan’s National School, Rathcoole at the start of Air Ambulance Week 2021. Photo: Brian Lougheed

What we do if there was no air ambulance to call on?

Ireland’s one and only charity-funded air ambulance has launched a new fundraising campaign as its workload continues to soar.

Based out of Rathcool in county Cork, the Irish Community Air Ambulance was launched 388 times during the first eight months of this year with each mission costing an average of €3,500, all of which has to be raised or donated.

As part if its campaign, the air ambulance has released a video highlighting the importance of the service and is asking members of the public to help it to save lives by making a donation.

The life-saving charity is also asking schools and businesses to get involved in International Air Ambulance Week by wearing red or yellow and making a donation.

While Cork and Kerry are considered the counties most likely to require the service, the air ambulance is regularly called to Limerick, Tipperary, Clare, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Wicklow and as far away as Galway and Mayo.

Incidents can range from road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests and farming accidents to equestrian incidents and falls from heights.

Deirdre Ormond’s 41 year old son Paul was milking cows when he was attacked by a bull in July of this year. He suffered serious injuries and was airlifted from the family farm near Clonmel to Cork by the Irish Community Air Ambulance.

Ms Ormand said: “Paul has no recollection of what happened but it's believed the bull went for him as he went to bring in a line of cows.

“We are eternally grateful to the emergency services. The helicopter was here within 20 minutes, it’s unbelievable.

“I am surprised that the air ambulance has to be funded by donations. Every single rural organisation should be funding that helicopter service.”

Micheál Sheridan, CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance added: “We bring hope when it’s needed most. Our crews have brought the most seriously injured and sickest patients to the hospital that best suits their life-saving needs. The question is though, what would have happened if there was no Air Ambulance?”

For more information, or to make a donation directly to the Irish Community Air Ambulance, visit Donations of €4 can also be made by texting FLIGHT to 50300.