€5m contract deal to supply National Ambulance Service with products.

Critical Healthcare, a Westmeath-based medical products manufacturer has secured a three-year contract to provide emergency medical products and services to the National Ambulance Service. The contract is worth €5m.

The Kilbeggan based healthcare provider manufacturers and distributes more than 5,000 medical and surgical products. The company has 13 full-time employees and two part-time workers to facilitate the new contract. Critical healthcare provides products to emergency services in Ireland, Britain and Scandinavia and is growing by 20% year-on-year.

This contract involves providing a managed solution for the purchase and supply of emergency medical supplies and patient consumable products for approximately 100 ambulance stations throughout Ireland on behalf of the HSE.

The company will also supply the National Ambulance Service with medical consumable products required by paramedics or first responders to diagnose, resuscitate and rehabilitate patients, such as dressings, bandages, oxygen masks, blood glucometers, gloves and defibrillator accessories.

The company will use a web-based management system developed in-house and called Medlogistix, for procurement, stock management and delivery.

The RNLI helped to save over 1500 lives last year

The RNLI have released figures of rescue operations in 2013 for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In Ireland, the RNLI launched 1,087 times in 2013 bringing 1,278 people to safety while in Northern Ireland, they launched 255 times, bringing 245 people to safety.

The statistics show that the majority of calls in Ireland last year were to pleasure craft which accounted for 583 services, while there were 138 launches to fishing vessels and 109 of the call outs in the North took place in the dark.

In a year when Ireland enjoyed one of its hottest summers, the overall statistics show an increase of 132 lifeboat launches in 2013, up from 955 in 2012 to 1,087. There was also an upsurge in the number of rescues with 221 more people brought to safety over the 12 month period. Throughout the year, there were some dramatic and challenging call outs for the lifeboat crews.

In July, 30 people were rescued by Kinsale and Courtmacsherry lifeboat crews when the tall ship Astrid was blown onto rocks and started to take on water off the south coast.

Republic of Ireland RNLI Stats

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats had the most launches in 2013, with its crew rescuing 67 people during 58 call outs.

Enniskillen RNLI, which operates from two inland stations in Fermanagh, brought the most people to safety, with 82 individuals rescued from 56 call outs. More than half of those services were carried out in the dark.

Portrush RNLI in county Antrim had 47 call outs bringing 33 people to safety while the volunteer crew in Howth launched their two lifeboats 46 times last year rescuing 78 people.

It was also a busy year for Kilmore Quay in county Wexford which operates a Tamar class lifeboat – the most technologically advanced in the Irish fleet. The lifeboat crew there rescued 76 people during 43 call outs. Further south in county Cork, inshore lifeboat stations at Crosshaven and Kinsale launched 42 and 41 times respectively bringing 36 people to safety in Crosshaven and 54 in Kinsale.

The charity’s lifeboat crews also had 142 call outs to people classed as ashore. These services included assisting people who were ill or injured on an island, cliff or the shoreline, where access by lifeboat was the fastest or safest way to reach the casualty.

On 10 occasions, lifeboat crews were also called upon to rescue animals in 2013. These included four dogs, two sheep, a cow, two whales and a dolphin.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat and Howth RNLI’s inshore lifeboat rescued six people on Dublin Bay in August after their boat capsized and they were left clinging to the upturned hull.

Northern Ireland RNLI Stats:

Enniskillen RNLI, which operates from two inland stations on Upper and Lower Lough Erne in county Fermanagh, had the most call outs launching 56 times over the 12 months bringing 82 people to safety. Portrush RNLI in county Antrim had 47 call outs bringing 33 people to safety while Bangor RNLI in county Down launched 31 times and rescued 23 people.

Northern Ireland experienced one of its hottest summers for years and this was reflected in a busy season for the 10 RNLI lifeguard units which are located on beaches in county Down and along the Causeway Coast. In all, RNLI lifeguards responded to 302 incidents compared to 159 in 2012 and came to the aid of 330 people who found themselves in difficulty, which is an increase of 153 from the year before.

The Causeway Coast, where there are seven units, was the busiest area, with lifeguards responding to 222 incidents and assisting 247 people. Among these incidents was the dramatic rescue of a family of six in Castlerock after they got caught in a flash rip – a strong current running out to sea.

Reflecting on the year, Martyn Smith, RNLI Operations Manager for Ireland said: ‘2013 proved to be another busy year for the RNLI with an increase in both our lifeboat launches and rescues. Our lifeboat crews are highly trained and equipped to deal with the challenges they face and we are indebted to their dedication to respond when the need arises.

‘Sadly’, Mr Smith continued, ‘not every call out results in a rescue and 2013 also brought its share of tragedy. A number of our call outs involved searches for missing people and in some incidents, they involved bringing home loved ones who were lost at sea. These call outs while challenging for all involved, demonstrate the commitment and seamanship of our crews who devote many hours to a search and recovery effort’.

Looking ahead, Mr Smith reminded the public that irrespective of weather conditions, the water always presents a risk. He recommended that people take care by following some simple safety tips: ‘We would remind water users to always wear a lifejacket, get the appropriate training, carry a means of calling for help, check engine and fuel, tell others where you are going and check weather and tides.’

Mr Smith concluded by thanking everyone who had contributed to helping the RNLI save lives at sea in 2013: ‘I would like to say a huge thank-you to our volunteers and all those who support the RNLI, a charity dependent on the generosity of the public, whether by giving up their time or by making a donation. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard and emergency services who we worked closely with in 2013.’

Pic: Courtesy RNLI

Injured fisherman rescued by Dublin rescue services

A fisherman is recovering in hospital this morning after he collapsed on board a vessel in Dublin Bay yesterday evening.  The Irish Coast Guard was alerted when a member of crew fell in the storage area below deck on the boat and lost consciousness.

An Irish Coast Guard team from Howth, a Dublin Fire Brigade unit from Kilbarack station and a HSE Ambulance from Swords were moblised to the scene while the Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 was also sent.  However, despite difficult weather conditions, a paramedic was able to land on board to assist with stabilising the man before the trawler headed for shore. The rescue services met the vessel at the West Pier in Howth.

The injured man was taken by ambulance to Beaumont hospital where he is conscious and stable.

Pic: Irish Times

Garda Boat Club pays tribute to long time member

The Garda Boat Club has paid tribute to a long time member Garda Sean Kavanagh who passed away on December 31, 2013 at Naas Hospital after a short illness.

A native of Causeway, Co. Kerry, Sean moved to Clane, Co. Kildare some years ago. He joined An Garda Síochána in 1963 and was initially posted to Kilmainham Station. He then joined the Garda Boat Club, where he began a life-long association with the Club.

In 1964 he was part of the Garda Maiden VIII team who won the Irish Maiden Championship and in 1965 was an integral part of the Garda Junior VIII, who won the Irish Junior Championship and the Club’s first Irish Senior VIII Championship title.

However on August 2, 1965 Sean was seriously injured in a car crash while travelling to the Carrick-on-Shannon Regatta.

Sean’s indomitable spirit shone through and he returned to work a short time later. From his wheelchair, he immersed himself in the administration side of the Club and it is no coincidence that the Club enjoyed great success in 1973 and 1975 under his stewardship as Captain. During that time they won the Thames Challenge Cup at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta.

Sean’s funeral Mass took place at Mount Argus and was celebrated by the Garda Chaplin Fr. Joe Kennedy. Members of the Garda Boat Club past and present provided a guard of honour. His coffin, draped in the Garda Boat Club flag, was brought to his native Kerry where he was laid to rest.

The Garda Boat Club extends it’s deepest sympathies to his sisters Marie, Kay and Gretta, brothers Pat, Cyril, Michael and Noel, nephews, nieces, grand nephews and nieces.

Source: Leinster Leader

Waterford plant destroyed by fire.

A Glanbia factory in County Waterford has been destroyed following a fire at the building on Friday morning. Several units of Waterford Fire Brigade fought the blaze at the plant for a number of hours. Is it taught the fire started at around 9am.

It is believed the fire may have started in the electrical room of the building.

A nearby department was in danger from the blaze; however fire-fighters prevented the blaze from spreading to the store.

Order of Malta raise funds for equipment

The Order of Malta in Longford has expressed a heart-felt thanks to all those who turned out for the organisation’s recently held fundraising night. The event was held at the Longford Greyhound track and attracted large crowds as funds were raised to help purchase equipment for the unit’s ambulance.

A spokesperson for Longford Order of Malta said “We would like to thank all of those who sponsored races, placed advertisements, gave donations, attended on the night and bought tickets.”

An open night to recruit new members will take place on February 1th. Special praise was also given to the main sponsor of the Longford unit, The Mulleady Group, Drumlish.

The spokesperson added “We are hoping to attract people of all persuasions to join our unit,” added the spokesperson. Being a member of the Order of Malta is a rewarding organisation to be involved with. We cover football matches, all sporting activities, concerts such as Oxegen, Electric Picnic and many more.”

As a PHECC registered training institute new members can be trained from foundation first aid up to EMT practitioners. New and existing EMTs are welcome to join. For more info contact Karen on (086) 1733386.

New Northern Ireland fire station on track for opening in June

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service’s new state of the art fire station at Omagh is set to be fully operational by June of this year. Costing £3.2million in all, the new facility will also become a centralised hub in Western Area Command for operational service delivery, on-site fire-fighter training and transport and engineering workshops.  It will afford too a dedicated community engagement facility with a strong focus on fire, road and community safety activity.

NIFRS’s Western Area Commander Trevor Ferguson said, “This new Community Fire Station will be a fantastic facility for our local fire-fighters who serve their community on a daily basis, and for all the personnel in Omagh District and NIFRS Western Area Command, as well as the local community and for our partner agencies involved in emergency response. “

Last year Omagh Fre Station was alerted to attend 372 incidents which included fires, road traffic collisions and specialist incidents such as large animal rescue, flooding incidents, water rescues and hazardous material incidents. “Given the range of incidents we attend and the level of specialist and ongoing operational training that is therefore required, the new station will provide us with the training space and facilities that we need.”

The station was designed by HLM Architects and is being built by local construction firm, Lowry Bros Ltd. A number of local sub-contractors and suppliers are being used throughout the project and it is estimated that between 40-50 workers are on site each day. The main contractor has also been working in conjunction with the South West Regional College providing apprentice placements, work experiences and a number of employment opportunities through the ‘Steps to Work’ programme.

Another exciting element of the Community Fire Station will be the potential to build closer links with local community groups and schools and with the general public, through the dedicated community safety facility that we will have on site. The station has been designed to our specific requirements and includes an incident command room that will be used during major or protracted incidents and can also be used as a multi-agency facility where a co-ordinated response is required to incidents such as major incidents and weather related incidents ie flooding, heavy snow, gorse fires.

Commander Ferguson added “It will also be used for multi-agency resilience planning and emergency training exercises. “In addition the station will have a dedicated transport and engineering workshop that will be utilised by all 20 fire stations in Western Area Command. It has long been recognised that the current station on the Killybrack Road, Omagh is no longer fit for purpose and the new station will provide better facilities for our 34 retained and wholetime fire-fighters based there and will be fully compliant with all building and regulatory requirements.”

Fire Crews at Omagh have thanked  the local community, and particularly the residents living close to the building work and Omagh District Council for the support they have given to them both pre and during the construction phase and they look forward to sharing their facility with the local community when it becomes operational later this year.

Garda nominated for Bravery Award

The heroic efforts of a Limerick Garda may be realised at the National Bravery Awards.  Garda James O’ Connor was involved in a dramatic river rescue in Limerick city recently when gardai were alerted to a woman who had gone missing from her home on the north side of city. Originally from Clarecastle, Garda O’ Connor is stationed at Mayorstone garda station. He said he would be honoured if he is nominated for a National Bravery Award. Garda_Limericck_Bravery

Speaking to the Limerick Leader, he said “We heard a kind of groan and we heard a noise out a bit in the reeds so we ran over, we could just make out the lady in question.” Because of her location, the gardai were not able to throw her a life buoy. “She was kind of floating on her back holding onto a branch or something so we couldn’t actually get the life buoy out to her,” he said Without hesitation, Garda O’Connor then waded into the water and through the reeds until he reached the woman.

Despite being 6’2” in height, at the one point the brave garda was in water so deep, it was over his shoulders. “When I stepped out, it wasn’t that deep and it was okay going in. The water was between my knees and my waist but where she was there was a sharp drop but because I am 6’2” I was okay and I was able to step back up onto the ridge and drag her back,” he said.

The Chief Superintendent of the Limerick Garda Division David Sheahan has praised the actions of the garda and his colleagues, Garda Gillian Kirwan, Garda Ciaran McCarthy and Garda Paul Baynham for their heroic actions. “I would like to certainly commend the bravery that was displayed by Garda James O’Connor on the morning in question as he waded his way into the reeds in the water to effect this rescue,” he said adding that he has no doubt Garda O’Connor’s name will be put forward for a Bravery Award. Garda O’ Connor told the Limerick Leader “It would be great, it’s a great honour but at the end of the day there were three of us there and I wouldn’t have gone in if I didn’t have somebody there.”

Source: Limerick Leader Pic: Limerick Leader

Major blaze at Dublin recycling plant

Over a dozen units of the Fire Brigade are battling a major blaze at a recycling centre in Dublin this morning. The fire broke out at the Oxigen plant at the Merrywell Industrial Estate, Ballymount at around 3am this morning.

Huge flames and thick black smoke was visible from a wide area. A spokesperson for Dublin Fire Brigade say it may take days to extinguish the fire completely. “It was sizeable when we got there. It’s going to be a long drawn out fire. There’s a lot of bailed, recycled material there and it’s always going to be tricky to put out that.”

There is poor water supply due to the size of the water mains in the area, but fire fighters are working to tackle the fire. Heavy smoke is causing difficulty for drivers on the approach roads and motorways. Callers to the Dublin Fire Brigade control centre are reporting low lying smoke and they say that they are smelling smoke from many areas.

Nobody is injured n the blaze. An Ambulance remains on the scene and Gardai are urging motorists travelling n the vicinity to take care as smoke is hindering visibility.

Defence Forces 89th Cadet Class Commissioning Ceremony

The Commissioning ceremony of the 89th Cadet Class for newly appointed army officers took place in the Defence Force Training Centre at the Curragh, Co. Kildare yesterday. The ceremony began with the marching-on of the colours. The colours are made up of the National Flag of Ireland and the Cadet School Colour.

Minister for state at the Department of An Taoiseach and the Department of Defence, Paul Kehoe TD was accompanied by the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Conor O’Boyle at the ceremony.

These 23 cadets come from diverse backgrounds across the country. They completed a demanding and challenging 15 months of basic officer training, which prepares them for when they take up appointments as junior leaders throughout the army and in the Malta.

The 89th Cadet class consists of twenty males and three females, 21 of who were commissioned as new Irish Army officer and two as Maltese Officers. Each new army officer took an oath of allegiance in which they swore to be ‘faithful to Ireland and loyal to the constitution”. The new Maltese officers received a certificate of graduation.

Each officer cadet is invested with their rank markings and received their sword from an officer of the defence Forces. They then marched forward to the Minister of State Paul Kehoe TD, where they were presented with their Commission as an Officer.

Photo Gallery of 89th Cadet Ceremony

During the ceremony, nine awards were presented to cadets, as part of the Cadet School Awards ceremony.

The Lt General William Callaghan Sword trophy was awarded to the overall best cadet in Tactical Exercise and Practical Leadership. The winner of this award was 26 year old Cadet Cathal Sweeney; from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

The Cornel Justin McCarthy Trophy is awarded to the best individual debater. This award was presented to the Cadet School in February 1963. The winner of this award was 25 year old Cadet Cian Clancy from Clonakilty, Co. Cork.

The Lieutenant Kieran Murphy trophy is awarded to the best overall sports person. Lt. Murphy was a member of the 51st Cadet Class, who died tragically in a road accident and the trophy was presented by his classmates. The award goes to 26 year old Cadet Siobhan Tierney from Rathcoole, Co. Dublin.

The Second Lieutenant Malachy Ó Comhradhe Trophy is given to the best overall debater in Irish. It was presented by the 41st cadet Class in 1968 in memory of their classmate who died tragically on 5 December 1968. The winner of this award is 27 year old Cadet Seamus Shannon, from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

The Sergeant Major Scanlon Sword was presented by Sergeant Major Tony Scanlon, formwr cadet school sergeant Major. It is awarded to the cadet who best promotes ‘Esprit de Corps’ in the Irish defence Forces. The winner of this award was 24 year old Cadet Patrick Wilson from Raheny, Dublin.

The Cadet Andrew Green Trophy was presented to the winner of the 10k Road Race, Cadet Andrew Green was a member of the 35th Cadet Class who died in service as a Cadet. The winner of this award was 21 year old Cadet Thomás Bell, from Portmarnock, Co. Dublin.

The Cadet Marksman’s Cup is awarded to the cadet who received the best overall combined shot in the Steyr Assault Rifle, the general purpose machine gun and the Heckler and Koch universal self-loading pistol. This award went to Cadet Cathal Sweeney.

The Lt Col Eddie Condon Trophy was first presented in 1975. T is awarded to the best section as directed by the commander. The winners of this award were Cadets 20 year old Adam Doyle from Kilkenny,  Seamus Shannon, Cathal Sweeney, 26 year old Grainne Kenneally from Kilworth, Co. Cork and 24 year old Karl Muckian from Dundalk, Co. Louth.

The ARCO Sword award is the perpetual sword award, presented by the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers. This award is given to the cadet who achieves first place in the class. The sword was first presented in 2001 and is presented by Brig General Liam MacNamee to the wining Cadet, 23 year old Fionn McCaffrey from Grange, Co. Sligo.

This class was centrally involved in the 2013 State Ceremonial Programme and the ceremonies to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the visit of US President John F Kennedy to Ireland and his death. Five members of the class travelled to Washington as part of these ceremonies.

The newly commissioned officers of the 89th Cadet Class will now take up duty with the Irish defence Forces as junior leaders throughout the Army and in Malta.