Cork air ambulance at risk of temporary grounding due to funding shortfall

Cork air ambulance at risk of temporary grounding due to funding shortfall

A community-funded air ambulance service in Co Cork is at risk of being grounded within a fortnight due to a funding shortfall.

The Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) air ambulance, which is based in Rathcoole near Mallow, began on July 30, 2019 and has been "extremely busy" since its launch.

"We've done approaching 250 missions for the National Ambulance Service. We've been busier than we initially anticipated," pilot John Murray told C103's Cork Today.

The air ambulance has flown 17 missions more each month than anticipated since its launch five months ago.

"We might not save lives every day but we do several times a week," Mr Murray said.

Cork air ambulance at risk of temporary grounding due to funding shortfall

The air ambulance, pilots, fuel and insurance are mainly funded through charitable donations while the National Ambulance Service provides an advanced paramedic and an emergency medical technician on board as well as medical supplies.

Air ambulances are well-supported by the public in the United Kingdom and those running the ICRR hope to follow their model.

"We would anticipate that there is enough goodwill in the community to support us in a similar manner. We are at a position at the moment where we have a shortfall of funding," Mr Murray said.

We are appealing to the general public to help us moving forward with this particular shortfall. We're just hoping that the general public will get on board now for this short-term funding shortfall. Moving forward we will need continued support as well.

The organisation has appealed to the Government for a one-off intervention at this time and is awaiting a response. However the charity's original agreement with the Government was that the community would fund the running of the aircraft.

It is estimated the running of the helicopter will cost €1.5m each year.

"If we were to get €1 per person in the south of the country we'd have it covered," Mr Murray said.

The ICRR has sent up a GoFundMe appeal with the aim of raising €400k to continue the air ambulance service.

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