New Air Ambulance to be based in Rathcoole Airfield

RTÉ news yesterday featured the new Community Air Ambulance which touched down in Kerry Airport, but it never said that it will be based out Rathcoole Airfield.

“We had initially looked at Cork Airport but felt that north Cork would be a better location as it would give us more land coverage. The weather also tends to be a lot better in north Cork than at the airport  as it is farther away from the sea, a consideration we felt was vitally important in maintaining a 24/7, around-the-clock service. There was also the issue of securing suitable hangar space at Cork Airport. For many different considerations, Rathcoole is the perfect location for the service, which we hope to have operational within the next six weeks This will be a real asset for the north Cork region,”

The service will be funded through public and corporate donations.

The air ambulance is expected to respond up to 500 calls per year, and bring most of the population of a 15,000 square kilometre area within 20 minutes of critical medical care.

While the helicopter will be based in Rathcoole, it will be available for missions nationwide.

Examples of incidents which the air ambulance is expected to respond to include:

  • The airlift of a seriously ill patient from remote and rural medical hubs or accident scenes to specialist hospital care.
  • Injuries sustained in road traffic accidents, equestrian, agricultural, industrial and sporting incidents, falls and impact injuries.
  • Cardiac medical events, strokes, anaphylaxis, etc.

It will be tasked through the National Ambulance Service 999 / 112 call system.

It will be provided using an AgustaWestland 109 helicopter (leased from Sloane) and will bring the population of a 25,000sq/km area within a “20 minute” reach of critical medical care.

Map: Rathcoole’s central location gives coverage after 20 minutes flying time ofnearly all of Cork, Kerry, Limerick, and parts of Waterford, Tipperary, and Clare.



News Reports:


Charity-funded community air ambulance arrives in Kerry – Ireland’s first community air ambulance funded by charity has arrived in Kerry and is expected to be operational within the next month… (RTÉ)

New Community Air Ambulance set to be based in north Cork – It has been announced that the Irish Community Air Ambulance Service for the south of Ireland will commence operations this October from a base in north Cork… (the Corkman)

Air ambulance a ‘missed opportunity’ – One of the country’s top doctors has criticised the HSE for not putting doctors on board Ireland’s first charity air ambulance service … (Irish Examiner)


Rathcoole Aerodrome  (EIRT) is 1 km north of Rathcoole village, along the Blackwater River.


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