Assistance to Air Corps in Athlone won’t affect air ambulance service in south-west

Captain John Murray, centre with crew Paul Traynor and Brian O'Callaghan pictured with the Charity Air Ambulance at Rathcoole Aerodrome in North County Cork launch.

The charity, in charge of the community air ambulance serving Kerry and Cork, says the provision of a back-up helicopter to Athlone, won’t affect its service here.

The Air Corps was forced to scale back on the Westmeath-based air ambulance service it provides the HSE, due to a shortage of pilots.

The Air Corps operates an air ambulance base in Athlone for the HSE.

However, a shortage of pilots has forced the defence forces to scale back the service.

This has led to the Irish Community Rapid Response, which runs the charity air ambulance service in the south-west, agreeing to provide its relief helicopter and a pilot to the Westmeath base for four days per month for the next four months.

The agreement was reached with the HSE National Ambulance Service.

Lynda Stopford is chief operations officer with the ICRR.

She’s reassuring people that it won’t affect the full-time air ambulance service for the south-west.

Ms Stopford says the service is working very well in Cork and Kerry and says the ICRR  welcomes the opportunity to assist the Air Corps and help address its training requirements.