Sunday 22 September 2019

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Lift off for air ambulance

Wednesday, 4th September, 2019 4:40pm

The country’s first charity led air ambulance carried out 56 missions in its first month on service, it was revealed at its official launch this week.

The new air ambulance, based near Millstreet, is expected to perform 500 life saving missions every year and will be largely funded by public donations.

The service is being led by Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) charity and delivered with the HSE, National Ambulance Service (NAS) and the Department of Health.

The helicopter went live on 30 July, and on its busiest day to date, the service was tasked five times.

The charity will fund the helicopter, the pilots, the fuel and the operation of the airbase while the National Ambulance Service will provide the medical staff and coordinate all the tasking of the craft through its aeromedical desk situated in Dublin.

ICRR, founder and volunteer John Kearney said this week’s launch was the realisation of a dream and the charity called on the public to now support the project.

He said: “The first month of service has shown with no doubt the real need for this service. Its use has exceeded expectations. It has been very rewarding to see it become a reality for people and families at their most critical hour of need. I am certain that lives have already been saved and that so many more will be.

“I want to acknowledge the essential contribution of our partners in the HSE National Ambulance Service and Department of Health. However, this is a community-based charity led service and it will need to raise €2m annually from the public to remain operational.

“ICRR will shortly be launching a major fundraising drive and will be calling on the public, on companies, on individuals and communities to support the Air Ambulance. Our thanks to so many for such generous support to date.”

Officially launching the service at its North Cork base, An Tánaiste Simon Coveney commended the partnership approach which has been developed.

He said: “This project involves Irish Community Rapid Response and the HSE’s National Ambulance Service coming together to save lives and serve the public good. I strongly commend this partnership approach and the State is fully committed to it. It will assist in saving lives by delivering rapid care to patients.”

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