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STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND DEFENCE, MR. ALAN SHATTER, T.D., AT
THE PRESS LAUNCH OF THE PILOT EMERGENCY AEROMEDICAL SERVICE,
CUSTUME BARRACKS, ATHLONE, MONDAY 21ST MAY, 2012
I am delighted that following many months of discussions and planning, Minister Reilly and I are in the happy position of being able to travel to Custume Barracks in Athlone today to announce details of the imminent launch of this pilot Emergency Aeromedical Service.
I am particularly pleased that my Department and the Air Corps are in a position to assist the Department of Health and the HSE in establishing this service which builds on the already strong relationship that has developed in recent years as a result of their involvement in the existing inter facility Air Ambulance Service that operates out of Baldonnel.
Today’s announcement of this pilot service to operate out of Athlone is a real example of how otherwise disparate State agencies can maximise existing resources to improve public services. While there is an existing agreement already in place providing for inter-hospital helicopter transfer, I believe that the Air Corps’ involvement in this pilot service will help the HSE to determine the level of need that exists amongst sections of the population, primarily in the west of Ireland, who require rapid transfer to an appropriate facility within a limited timeframe.
I would like to thank my colleague, Minister Reilly and his officials for all their efforts in establishing this pilot service in a relatively short period of time and I would also like to thank personnel from my own Department and the Air Corps for their considerable efforts in recent months to bring this to fruition. Finally, I would like to thank Brigadier General Ger Aherne, GOC of the 4th Western Brigade, and all of his personnel here in Custume Barracks, for their warm welcome here today and for their assistance in providing the necessary facilities to allow this pilot service to operate from here.
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