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COVID-19 pushing ICRR air ambulance to breaking point as funding dries up

Cancellation of fundraising events putting service at increased risk of being grounded

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Air Ambulance

Air Ambulance

Air Ambulance

Having already faced the bleak prospect of being grounded due to funding issues the Rathcoole based Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) air ambulance is once again coming under pressure to remain airborne.

Earlier this year, it had been feared that the ICRR would have to stop operations due to a funding shortfall.

However, the service managed to remain airborne by reducing its operational remit to five days per week.

Now the service, which relies on public support to keep it in the air, has revealed it is facing a fresh funding crisis due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

ICRR operations manager Ruth Bruton said the cancellation of funding events for the charity due to the pandemic is once again stretching their already meagre resources to breaking point.

She said that at time when demand for the service is increasing as a result of the Coronavirus situation, future missions are "at risk" without the continued support of the public.

"The safety of the public, including the most vulnerable in our society, is paramount and we are heeding the advice of the Government in the fight against COVID-19," said Ms Bruton.

"However, we largely rely on the support of the public and community-based events which have all been cancelled or postponed and our in demand lifesaving service faces fresh threats if we cannot ensure funding for our next lifesaving mission."

Ms Bruton said it was now more important than ever that people joined up to their 'Lifesaver' fundraising scheme, which entails a regular donation of €10 per month or, as Ms Bruton put it, "the price of a cup of coffee per week."

She said that an additional 10,000 members were needed to keep the lifesaving air ambulance service operational.

"In the current climate Lifesaver membership offers people a safe way to make a regular donation. While it may only be the price of a cup of coffee per week, the impact of those donations can ensure that lives are saved across Ireland by keeping this vital service in the air as demand for our services is increasing during the pandemic crisis," she said.

Ms Bruton said it is estimated the air ambulance will fly some 600 missions during 2020, a number that is likely to significantly increase with no sign of the Coronavirus abating.

She said that unlike larger charities, with huge reserves, ICRR is totally reliant on community support for its lifesaving missions and these future missions are at risk without continued support.

"Your ICRR Air Ambulance is here for you and your loved ones when you need us most, now we need 10,000 new members to join our Lifesaver membership to keep us flying. ICRR is a small charity with a mammoth task. Our pilots and medics cannot save lives without your lifesaving donation," she said.

"You can be part of the chain of survival' by signing up at www.icrr.ie or contacting our office on 021 419 0999 for more information from our team."

Corkman