Chief executive of the CUH group Tony McNamara confirmed that, following a long and detailed assessment, a suitable site — a car park in the north east of the campus — has been selected.
The site complies with strict clinical requirements and aviation regulations and has been deemed suitable to accommodate the Coast Guard’s S-92 search-and- rescue helicopters, and the Irish Air Corps’ Augusta Westland 139 and Eurocopter 135 aircraft.
Mr McNamara said €1.8m in funding is in place for the project and a team will be appointed soon to begin the detailed design of the landing site and ancillary facilities, including an enclosed corridor link to the hospital’s emergency department.
Work is to start within weeks on the demolition of a chimney stack as part of a €500,000 project designed to reduce the hospital’s energy consumption. Mr McNamara said the demolition would facilitate a flight path for the proposed landing site.
“The development of a helipad is an integral part of the plan for CUH to be one of the country’s few major trauma centres and is a prerequisite to enable the urgent transfer of patients requiring cardiac, neurosurgical, and other specialist services,” he said.
It is hoped that the planning application will be lodged with Cork City Council before the end of the year and, pending a decision, construction could start early next year. The news is a major step forward in a near 13-year campaign to restore a permanent 24/7 helipad on the hospital campus.