A all-weather lighted helipad in northwest Connemara for Coastguard and Medivac helicopters is vital for successful rescue operations in the region.
This is the view of Sinn Féin Connemara candidate Tom Healy who is calling for funding for such infrastructure, following meetings with coast guard members and local citizens.
Mr Healy said two unused airport strips in the area would be ideal for conversion into helipads and would only cost “a minimal amount of money” and that they should not be “auctioned off by the Government.
According to Mr Healy, up until recently the coast guard used Clifden rugby pitch, but as this location has proven unsuitable due to crosswinds, there no longer is a lit area suitable for night landings.
“There are situations where sick people might now be waiting on emergency evacuation while a suitable landing area is sought,” he said. “More focus could be placed on helicopter evacuations as this means that medical care can be given within the ‘Golden hour’ where survival rates increase dramatically.”