The concern voiced by Cork councillors about the unconscionable delay in getting the country’s first, and much-needed, charity-funded air ambulance service off the ground raises a life or death question: what is it about the provision of such an amenity that Ireland finds so difficult?
A new helicopter has been waiting for lift-off in a North Cork hangar since January. Paramedics, pilots, engineers, and ground staff have been trained, and an integration plan with the National Emergency Operations Centre, which handles all 112/999 calls, has been signed and sealed.
All that’s needed to get the service started, five months on, is the green light from Health Minister Simon Harris.
The delay cannot, surely, be down to politics, and rocket science isn’t needed.
Other countries are able to provide this life-saving service with little if any difficulty.
Romania, with a mere 245km of coastline, has eight air ambulances.
Across the sea, Wales has four charity-funded air ambulances to cover an area a third the size of Ireland.
What, Mr Harris, is our problem?