FUNNYMAN PJ Gallagher is all revved up about a new charity service that combines his love of motorbikes with saving lives – and taxpayers' money.
The 'Naked Camera' star – an avid motorbike enthusiast – got his "motor runnin'" yesterday at the launch of Blood Bikers East.
The national Blood Bikers charity uses motorcyclist volunteers who ferry blood, test results and other supplies to hospitals for free.
The aim of the charity – which has now expanded to the Leinster region – is to save the Health Service Executive (HSE) money that it would otherwise spend on taxis to make the deliveries.
The charity's founder Pat McCabe said the service is a win-win situation for bikers – who love being on the open road – and hospitals.
Little Thomas Fegan (8), from Killiney, south Dublin, was also at the launch of the new service in Dublin yesterday which got a major boost with a donation of more than €32,000 from sponsors DoneDeal which allowed the charity to buy additional motorcycles.
The charity began in 2012 in Galway after one of its founders, Mike Carty, saw a television programme about the Blood Bikers in the UK.
Mr Carty said the service can save huge amounts of money that would otherwise be spent on taxi fares, noting that in some cases, taxis can cost the HSE between €300 and €400 to ferry blood or other vital supplies to hospital when urgently needed.
Volunteers are fully vetted by gardai and carry official identity cards while on duty after undergoing rigorous training and testing by a police motorcycle training unit as well as undergoing periodic reviews of their skills.
Their motorcycles are specially adapted to carry their life-saving products and are equipped with a blue emergency light so they can be identified as emergency vehicles.