The Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) has announced that the Cork based air ambulance service will recommence daily operations from June 1st, thanks to fundraising support it has received in recent weeks.
The air ambulance, which operates from Rathcool Aerodrome in North Cork, had been scaled back since earlier this year after an unprecedented amount of missions and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic put financial pressure on the service.
At one point it was feared that the air ambulance would have to be grounded indefinitely due to lack of funds.
However, the ICRR now says that a constant stream of donations and virtual fundraisers for the service has enabled a return to a seven-day operation from next month.
“A return to seven-days service has been a huge focus for the ICRR team and we are thrilled to finally see this critically needed air ambulance be where it should be; in the air when we need it most.
“We sincerely thank the public for making this possible. However, the ongoing challenge of keeping it there is our priority and continued support from those that can give is vital. Every mission counts, so every donation counts too,” said Operations Manager, Ruth Bruton.
In one ongoing innovative fundraiser, ‘Duhallow’s Fittest Club’, 23 GAA clubs in the North Cork area of Duhallow were pitted against each other in a bid to raise funds for local charities including the ICRR Air Ambulance.
The fundraiser has raised almost €35,000 to date and later this week Ballydesmond and Kiskeam GAA clubs who will go head-to-head for the title.
Organiser, Sean Linehan said: “We chose the ICRR Air Ambulance as we see it as a vital service, not only for the Duhallow area, but for the entire Munster region. Participants were delighted to get some fun exercise in, whilst also helping raise vital funds. Some age-old rivalries also surfaced of course, but it was all very much well natured!”
The ICRR said that they are “so grateful for the outpouring of support and donations from people across Ireland.”
“The online community spirit by way of donations and showing support with beautifully drawn pictures being posted to our crews has made this difficult time an easier journey,” said Ms Bruton.
Since commencing operations last July, the service has completed 383 missions.