Sunday 19 November 2017

Defence Forces called out in battle against the elements

Brian McDonald, Conor Kane and Niamh O'Donoghue

SOLDIERS rolled out on to the streets to help battle the icy conditions yesterday -- but requests for help only came from three local authorities.

Trucks rolled to the rescue of seriously ill patients, cut off by the icy road conditions in Galway, while army personnel also stepped in to help deliver vital injections and other medical services to psychiatric patients in Wexford.

And more than 70 members of the Defence Forces helped a local authority to grit roads and footpaths in Kildare.

The Army worked side by side with council workers in Newbridge, Clane, Maynooth, Celbridge and Leixlip all day yesterday.

The staff officer in the Defence Forces Training Centre at the Curragh Camp, Cmdt Sean O'Fatharta, co-ordinated yesterday's efforts. "Overall we have around 100 personnel on standby and will be continuing this work up until Sunday, when conditions are expected to worsen due to expected snowfall," he said. "We also are aiding the A&E in Naas Hospital in bringing patients home."

In Galway, the army operation got under way following a plea from the Galway Hospice which offers a specialist nursing service to over 100 palliative care patients in their homes.

"Over the past couple of weeks our clinical nurse specialists have been experiencing considerable difficulty in getting to some patients who are cared for in their homes in the more remote area," hospice CEO Sean O'Healy said.

And in Wexford the Defence Forces came to the assistance of HSE community psychiatric nurse in Enniscorthy Anna Murphy after it became clear that patients living in isolated areas were unable to travel to St Senan's Hospital.

Irish Independent

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