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A dedicated air ambulance landing location in Kilkee is needed to compensate ambulance wait times in West Clare, a county councillor has said.

Development of a landing location in Kilkee was requested by Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) “to service the town, the Loop Head Peninsula, and the wider West Clare communities”.

Discussions are to commence with the Coast Guard and Community Ambulance “to consider the requirements and look at potential options,” acting senior executive officer in the West Clare MD, John O’Malley said in response to Murphy’s motion.

Four emergency calls over the summer period for Kilkee prompted the Chair of the West Clare MD to table the motion. He flagged that in such instances either the grounds of St Senan’s Kilkee GAA club or Kilkee Golf Club have to be used, “it can damage the place where it lands,” he said. “The State are there to provide a service, we shouldn’t be relying on the goodwill of community organisations to provide a suitable location. It’s not good enough that a well-funded service such as the HSE or Clare County Council don’t have a location where the choppers can come”.

Air ambulance is “critical” to coastal and isolated communities, Cllr Murphy stressed. The lived experience differs with the average response time of eighteen minutes for ambulances in the county, he believed. Once the ambulance is out on a call from Kilrush, the South-West Clare communities become reliant on services from Ennis and Ennistymon which lead to longer wait times.

“It will take in excess of an hour for an ambulance to get to UHL in Limerick, a chopper will be there in fifteen minutes. It is not a big ask to look for a patch of ground to make suitable week in week out without looking for a favour from our neighbours,” the Kilkee representative added.

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