Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Flanagan calls for Air Ambulance to operate on cross-border basis

Published: 24 July, 2015

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has called for the proposed Air Ambulance service, which may be based in Enniskillen, to operate on a cross-border basis.

Mr Flanagan said,

"It was announced yesterday that funding opportunities are being explored for an air ambulance service which could 'soon operate' out of Enniskillen.

"This service is a necessity in emergency care particularly given the rural nature of many parts of Ireland.

"This would benefit the health care system in the North significantly but will bring with it an estimated cost of £2.2 million a year.

"Therefore, the most sensible option to alleviate these costs is by allowing the air ambulance to operate across the northern half of the Ireland including Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

"The idea that the helicopter would stop once it reaches the border is ridiculous.

"Enniskillen is a location that would very easily pick up 11 counties and 20/25 minutes would take the air ambulance to most locations. It is the perfect base for an air-ambulance to serve the northern half of this island.

"A cross-border approach would make this service much more sustainable and would also allow for people in counties such as Cavan, Leitrim and Donegal to access emergency care, which they currently have to receive from Dublin.

"Simon Hamilton must ensure that any consideration around the funding of this service and the way in which it operates are carried out in conjunction with his counterpart Leo Varadkar, in Dublin, to find a sustainable model that works in the best interests of citizens across the whole of Ireland." ENDS