Published on January 29th, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer


Irish Community Air Ambulance launches 10-day fundraising tour of Munster and South Leinster

We reported back in November (See Here), that a local group called the Irish Community Air Ambulance (ICAA) had announced its plans for a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) and hoped to get off the ground by April this year, following a fundraising drive, which was aiming to raise more than €1 million, to cover start-up costs required to enable what it describes, as “a life-saving service”. This week the ICAA launched a 10-Day fundraising tour of Munster and south Leinster using Eurocopter EC135 T2+ G-SASA.

“Irish Community Air Ambulance are committed to providing safe, effective, and timely emergency medical care to those seriously ill or injured in Ireland through the provision of a dedicated air ambulance service”

The tour kicked off on Monday morning 23rd January with a visit to Ferrybank, Wexford and then a private visit to a school outside Enniscorthy. Plans for the week included visits to Dunhill, Dungarvan, Thurles, Limerick, Ennis, Killarney, Dingle, Bantry, Cape Clear and Cork City.

The ICAA service, which will be based out of Cork Airport, will mirror the successful model in Wales and other countries in Europe where geographically challenging terrain warrants an air ambulance. It is hoped that more than €1million can be raised to launch the service this year. Irish Community Air Ambulance will complement the existing emergency services and the current Athlone based Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS) operated by the National Ambulance Service in partnership with the Irish Air Corps.

Eurocopter EC135 T2+ G-SASA visiting a primary school in Wexford this week.

The Air Corps provides support for the HSE’s Emergency Aeromedical Support (EAS) Service, which operates on a daily basis, through the provision of a dedicated helicopter operating during daylight hours, out of Custume Barracks Athlone, with reserve support being provided by the IRCG. This service commenced in June 2012 and was established, initially on a pilot basis, by agreement between the Department of Defence and the Department of Health. A permanent service was established following a Government decision in July 2015.

The crew of the ICAA Helicopter

Spokeswoman for the Irish Community Air Ambulance organisation, Ann Kelly, said in a region where there are few motorways and the geography is challenging, it can take hours for an ambulance to get to an incident. “The terrain in Wales is similar to what we could be covering in Munster and South Leinster and we are very much looking to the Welsh model. It too is completely community funded and serves 3m people.”

John Kearney, co-founder of Irish Community Air Ambulance, said “People are dying unnecessarily due to the time it takes to receive critical care. This new service will be built on the already successful model of Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) which has been in existence since 2009 and uses volunteer doctors for pre-hospital emergencies. There are currently five Level 4 clinicians and over 100 GPs with Irish Community Rapid Response who have saved countless lives and improved care in its nine years in operation. The launch of a community air ambulance service is the next step bringing better response times with permanent on-duty doctors who will have the ability to bring advanced skills to acutely ill and injured people throughout its catchment area.”

Irish Community Rapid Response was established in 2008 to deliver professional pre hospital care directly to the site of medical emergencies throughout Ireland. Volunteer doctors have made a significant difference while working in association with the National Ambulance Service when responding to 999/112 emergency calls.

The HEMS helicopter is a mobile intensive care unit staffed by a team of highly qualified and specially trained trauma doctors who can be on site in the fastest time possible providing life-saving treatment at the incident site. “It is an undisputed fact that in the aftermath of a major incident or accident timing is key and that outcomes are greatest when treatment can begin within the first hour, the ‘golden hour’,” stated the ICAA. You can donate to the ICAA by visiting their website at or visiting their Facebook page at

With enough funding, the Irish Community Air Ambulance is hoping to launch later in 2017.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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