new ambulances for Irish Red Cross volunteers
The ambulances, worth €320,000 were funded by the CLÁR programme which provides support for small-scale infrastructural projects in rural areas and is managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development. Online lottery company Lottoland also provided funding for the ambulances while monies were also raised at a local level by Irish Red Cross volunteers in Tipperary town, Raheen Co Laois and Claremorris, Co Mayo. The branches in these three towns received an ambulance each.
Irish Red Cross vehicles complete over 5,000 duties every year which includes first aid cover at events throughout the country such as motorsport rallies, equestrian cycling events and martial arts events as well as matches, triathlons, festivals, concerts and charity events. Irish Red Cross volunteers are trained to meet the very high regulatory standards set by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC).
There are six Irish Red Cross branches in Tipperary, one in Mayo and two in Laois. Volunteers attend over 500 duties in the Tipperary area each year, over 150 in the Mayo area and 120 duties in the Laois area.
Minister Michael Ring praised the work of Irish Red Cross volunteers, saying he was well aware the vehicles would be put to good use:
“To the volunteers who are here this morning, to you I say on my own behalf, and on behalf of the Government, thank you for the great work that you do. You have saved many lives over the years and you give a fantastic service to the state, and I’d like to put that on the record this morning. For the commitment the time and the effort that you put into the Irish Red Cross, thank you.
“Why should these people here - who are out doing a job in a voluntary capacity - why should they be out on a Saturday and Sunday raising funding as well for the equipment that they need? It’s the least the state can do to support them.
“Sometimes we don’t say thanks for the great job that they do, often in very difficult circumstances. Sometimes these people put their lives at risk as voluntary people, and I thank them for that.”
Tony Lawlor, National Director of Units with the Irish Red Cross thanked the Minister, and Lottoland for their generosity: “It is thanks to CLÁR funding and Lottoland that we have these new ambulances today. The ambulances being replaced are very old so this funding was really needed. It is no exaggeration to say that these ambulances will help save lives. As well as that, they will provide many years of support in their localities. These vehicles will allow our volunteers to continue serving their communities at sports events and festivals and providing community transport, while they will also be on standby for severe weather response. We’re grateful to Minister Michael Ring and Lottoland for their work on this.”
Graham Ross, Lottoland’s Country Manager in Ireland said: “Lottoland are delighted to once again partner with the Irish Red Cross in financially supporting the critical work of their ambulance services. We are proud that these three new ambulances, which will all carry the new tablet technology funded by Lottoland in 2018, will have such an important role to play in the rural communities in which they will serve.”