Over half of 'crucial' Air Corps air ambulance missions completed across five counties
Some 53pc of Irish Air Corps air ambulance missions completed in 2018 took place across the counties of Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Clare and Tipperary.
Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe said Emergency Aeromedical Support (EAS) Service missions are a vital part of this work and involve air crews supporting the HSE in providing a medical service for seriously ill patients, often in rural communities.
A dedicated Air Corps AW 139 helicopter and crew support a 365-day (EAS) operating out of Custume Barracks, Athlone.
Since the commencement of the pilot EAS in June 2012 to 13 December 2018, the Air Corps has completed in more than 2,300 missions throughout the country.
More than 310 EAS missions were completed in 2018 with 41pc of all completed missions terminated at Galway Hospital.
Minister Kehoe said such missions can result in lives being saved and said the statistics demonstrate how crucial the service is to the country.
The Air Corps responded to a vast range of Aid to Civil Power (ATCP) and Aid to Civil Authority (ATCA) requests during 2018 - assisting An Garda Síochána, the HSE, local authorities and other key agencies of the State.
Other work carried out by the Air Corps in 2018 included maritime Patrols, Emergency Weather Event Support ( Storm Emma & Gorse Fires), Garda Air Support Unit Missions, EURO Cash In Transit Escorts and VIP Visits.
The Air Corps deployed air assets to assist civil authorities and the Northern Ireland Fire Service during multiple operations, including combating gorse fires in Dublin, Wicklow, Limerick, Tipperary, Wexford, Down and Armagh.
During operations, approximately 900,000 litres of water were dropped via the “Bambi Bucket” concentrating drops on small areas, making an immediate impact on the wildfires.
Minister Kehoe said the deployment of crews across the border was a standout moment.
And he said that the Air Corps responded to requests for assistance when our nearest neighbour was in need.
“These were unprecedented operations from our perspective and they are among many reasons why we are extremely proud of the work of the women and men of the Irish Air Corps.”