Regional Group TDs published a Dáil motion today calling on the Government to suspend the Search and Rescue (SAR) services tender process with immediate effect in a bid to keep Rescue 117 in the South East.
Members are concerned that the Department of Transport have failed to outline their strategic requirements clearly as part of the tender process and that this may lead to the closure of at least one of the current bases, 'most likely the closure of the Rescue 117 base in Waterford'.
The present Waterford-based Rescue 117 service is used as an emergency helicopter patient transfer vehicle for acute heart attack treatment at Cork University Hospital from University Hospital Waterford (UHW).
Group TDs further stated that "not having a 24/7 manned helicopter base in Waterford would result in extended travel times for helicopter transfer, further reducing treatment options and outcomes for South East patients."
"The people of the South East will not accept any diminishment of the Rescue 117 service or it's relocation out of Waterford," said Matt Shanahan TD.
Rescue 117 also regularly assists in emergency situations and search and rescue operations in Kilkenny.
Speaking last week, Kilkenny councillor Pat Dunphy stated that 'the service is far too vital to the region to lose'.
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