Wednesday, 22 February 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
17. Mr. Hughes asked the Minister for Defence the number of Air Corps trips to and from Clare Island and Inishturk, County Mayo, in each of the years 1990 to 1994; his views on whether requests for transport during times of bad weather could be better co-ordinated by nominating on a voluntary basis a person on each island to be the co-ordinator of all requests for such transport in view of their local knowledge; and the costs involved for the above periods. [2434/95]
Minister for Defence (Mr. Coveney): As the details on the number of Air Corps helicopter missions to both islands is in the form of a tabular statement, I propose to circulate it in the Official Report.
Requests for Air Corps assistance to islands are usually of two main types. The first are air ambulance missions, that is flying patients from islands to hospitals for treatment. Requests of this nature are normally made by designated officers from the regional health boards.
The second type of assistance are requests for air transport of persons and-or supplies to and from the islands due to inaccessibility caused by weather and-or sea-state conditions. These type of missions are carried out on an ad-hoc basis at the request of various authorities and individuals.
Given the high level of demand on Air Corps helicopter resources, I am anxious that flying missions of this type are controlled, co-ordinated and planned in the most effective manner. Accordingly, I am having the procedures for dealing with this type of request examined in my Department in consultation with the military authorities.
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