Irish Community Air Ambulance CEO Micheál Sheridan and RTÉ Broadcaster John Creedon are asking the public to host events to raise funds for the charity as it recorded its highest month of callouts for traffic collisions since it launched in 2019. Photo: Brian Lougheed

Charity air ambulance tasked to fifteen crashes last month

The Irish Community Air Ambulance has responded to the highest number of road traffic collisions in a single month since the organisation first launched in 2019.

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance, which is a charity funded organisation, was tasked to 15 separate crashes during May.

The increase in crashes has pushed the number of call outs for the helicopter up by 14% when compared to April.

The service is also facing increasing fuel costs. For this reason, and to support the expansion of its ground-based volunteer doctor service, the Irish Community Air Ambulance has launched a major fundraising drive with support from RTÉ presenter John Creedon.

He said: “The Irish Community Air Ambulance has had a huge impact right across the country since the service first launched almost 3 years ago. However, it’s rural communities in Munster, places that are some distance from the nearest hospital, that have benefited most.

“The figures for May speak for themselves and show that the demand for the service is increasing. Nobody sets out on their day thinking that they will need the services of the air ambulance, but we know that life can change in an instant and when trauma strikes, it's vital to know that help is on the way. That’s why this charity service is so important,” he concluded.

The helicopter responded to 205 incidents in the first 5 months of this year. Cork accounted for 1 in 4 of the calls followed by Kerry, Tipperary, Clare, Waterford, Wexford, Limerick and Carlow.

In total, 17 people were airlifted to hospitals in Cork and Limerick during May.

CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan, added: “The summer is the busiest time of the year for us and we’re already seeing the number of calls increasing. To be tasked to 15 road traffic collisions in 1 month is concerning and equates to a serious crash every second day.”

To help raise crucial funds, the charity is inviting the public to host a BBQ or coffee morning or an event of their choosing during the month of July.

The call comes shortly after a number of Cork county councillors called for state funding for the service.

Speaking at a recent meeting of Cork County Council, Fine Gael Cllr John Paul O’Shea said: “It costs just over €2 million a year to run it and it can't be done by expecting people to drop a couple of euros into a box when they pass by.

“They have been knocking on the door of Government over the past 2 years in for a funding stream for the service. I think they have waited long enough.”