Sunday 25 September 2016

Irish medics return from Ebola mission

Published 22/05/2015 | 15:08

Members of a Irish Defence Forces medical team who returned after their four month deployment to Sierra Leone Credit: Frank Mc Grath
Members of a Irish Defence Forces medical team who returned after their four month deployment to Sierra Leone Credit: Frank Mc Grath

A Defence Forces team of five medics just returned from Sierra Leona said they were proud to have played their part in the fight against Ebola, saying they will return to West Africa at the earliest opportunity.

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Fresh from the horrors of the ongoing battle against the deadly virus,  the team flew into Baldonnell Aerodrome earlier today having spent 24 hours in a decompression unit in the UK.

They will likely face a further 'belt and braces' raft of medical tests now that they are on home soil.

The team consisted of a military doctor, Captain Eugene O'Connor from Blackrock in Dublin as well as medical Non-Commissioned officers, Sgt David Sliney; Corporals Frank Noonan  and Pierce Foley and Trooper Richard Fitzgerald - who received a reward for bravery for his services while abroad.

Capt O'Connor said the local people on the ground welcomed them with "open arms" and they had worked alongside Sierra Leonian police and military.

Ben (10) and Mila (8) Banerjee hug their uncle Capt O Connor as he arrives back Credit: Frank Mc Grath
Ben (10) and Mila (8) Banerjee hug their uncle Capt O Connor as he arrives back Credit: Frank Mc Grath

There were instances when they came in contact with people with Ebola and it had "focused the mind at all times because it is a serious virus", he said.

However he added that they took precautions at all times.

He said they were pressed into immediate action as the virus threatened to spiral out of control but within a month the cases levelled off and are now "almost at zero."

But it is a bumpy road, he warned.

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