Warnings continues as people rescued off Croagh Patrick

Voluntary Medical and Rescue services are appealing to those intending on climbing Croagh Patrick today as part of ‘Reek Sunday’, not to do so in their bare feet and to be prepared and appropriately dressed for the climb.

25,000 pilgrims are expected to make the climb to the top where mass will be said at the small church which only serves on this day each year.

So far this morning, three people have been injured on the reek. One man was removed to hospital by helicopter following a suspected heart attack while two others were walking wounded.

Photo: (Mayo Mountain Rescue)

Mountain Rescue Ireland is coordinating rescue efforts and they are being assisted by up to 100 members from Mayo Mountain Rescue, the Order of Malta, Civil Defence, Irish Air Corps, the Gardaí, Mayo County Council and other voluntary groups.

So far this year, the number of incidents being reported increased by 30% compared to last year.

Jerome Hopkins of Mayo Mountain rescue said the peak times are from 8am to 12noon. He said its takes approximately 2 hours to climb the mountain and about 90 minutes to descend.

The Order of Malta is also calling on climbers to wear appropriate footwear and clothing for the climb. Lieutenant Eamon Berry said it’s when people are coming down that most accidents occur.  “Extreme caution is urged upon all climbers given the dangers posed by the climb. It is imperative that suitable footwear be worn, along with warm clothes and rain gear, as well as sun protection. All climbers should also bring a plentiful supply of water and snacks, while extra care must be taken with children on the mountain”.

Mayo MRT Night Crew
Photo: (Mayo Mountain Rescue)

Medical and Mountain Crews out since 4am

Speaking to Mayo’s Mid West Radio this morning, Ruth Cunniff, PRO for Mayo Mountain Rescue said three casualties have been treated so far on the mountain. “At 1am there was a nice little trail of lights from people heading up, our first two teams went on the hill at 4am this morning.

It’s been a busy morning for everyone, a lot of people on the reek, a lot of people climbing with the good weather. We have had three casualties so far this morning. One was airlifted to Castlebar General Hospital and transferred to Galway University, the other two were walked off by the Order of Malta with not too serious injuries”.

“People should be prepared. While its nice out there now, the weather and conditions can change in a matter of minutes on that mountain. Wear appropriate footwear and bring enough clothes, food and water because it can get very cold and tiresome”.

Mayo Mountain Rescue Croak Patrick IRCG
Photo: (Mayo Mountain Rescue)

Meet the 32nd Air Corps Officers

Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr Paul Kehoe T.D, accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellet attended the Commissioning Ceremony of new officers at the Air Corps Headquarters in Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel yesterday, Friday 29th July.

960 Irish Air Coprs new cadets

The occasion marked a very important and proud day for the members of the 32nd Air Corps Cadet Class. It represents the successful completion of over two and a half years of intensive military and flying training and on yesterday, the Cadets were awarded their Military Pilots Wings and Presidential Commissions.

Instructors of the Flight Training School provided a short aerobatics display prior to the Commissioning Ceremony. Excellent manoeuvres were witnessed by the gathered crowd of the PC-9s while in mid-flight.

960 Irish Air Corps Plane and crew

On the 23rd Sept 2013 the members of the 32nd Air Corps Cadet Class joined the 90th Army Cadet Class in the Curragh where they completed basic military and leadership training. On completion of this module, the class moved to Casement Aerodrome and attended pilot ground school, undergoing over 750 hours of instruction on 15 diverse aviation related subjects ranging from Principles of Flight to Human Performance and Limitations.

960 Irish Air CorpsGraduation

The class have completed over 180 hours of flying training, including advanced aerobatics, aerial tactics and close formation flying. The successful completion of this training has prepared them to take up appointments as junior leaders and pilots in the Air Corps. In receiving this Presidential Commission, the new officers took an oath of allegiance in which they swore to be “faithful to Ireland and loyal to the Constitution”.

Photos: (Irish Air Corps)

‘Budgie’ Byrne was quick witted, had a cheeky smile and an infectious laugh

Firefighters in Birr, Co. Offaly are preparing to say their final farewell to one of their colleagues who sadly passed away on Thursday 28th July following a long battle with an illness.

OY15 FF David Budgie Byrne RIP

David ‘Budgie’ Byrne, was a retained fire fighter with Offaly Fire & Rescue Service for a number of years and was stationed in Birr. He was aged 43.

Speaking to Emergency Times this weekend, his colleagues at the fire station have paid tribute to Budgie and said he will be sadly missed. “Budgie was very proud to be a firefighter and was possibly the most popular member of our crew. He was incredibly determined, with a huge appetite for work and was an asset in the toughest of calls. He was one of those annoying people who was good at everything he did, golf, darts, soccer. He had a natural talent”

David married Louisa last year and their first wedding anniversary occurs today.

David and Louisa BYrne

He is deeply regretted by his loving wife Louisa, daughters Shauna and Cathriona, mother Josie, brothers Rodger and Vincent, sisters Patricia and Camilla, father-in-law Denis, mother-in-law Margaret and extended family and friends.

The fire crew from Birr will form a guard of honour at his funeral mass on Monday morning.

Colleagues said he was quick witted, had a cheeky smile and an infectious laugh. “He’ll be missed by all of us who love him and all who were fortunate enough to have known him”.

OY15A1 and FF Budgie Byrne

Funeral Arrangements
Reposing at his residence tomorrow, Sunday from 6pm to 9pm. Removal from his residence on Monday morning at 10.15am to arrive at St. Brendan’s Church, Birr at 10.45am for Funeral Mass at 11am. Burial afterwards in Clonoghill Cemetery, Birr.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h’anam


Photos of ‘Budgie’ and David and Louisa courtesy Birr Fire Fighters  
Photos of Birr Fire Station and Birr Fire Appliance courtesy Fire-Ireland.com
Photo Illustrations: EmergencyTimes.com

Water warning this bank holiday weekend

The Summer months are a particularly busy time for water rescuers with many people taking advantage of the school holidays and good weather and this weekend, the August bank holiday weekend is even busier.

The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have issued a joint appeal urging people to be vigilant and take care in and on the water or along the coastline this bank holiday weekend.  Both organisations have cautioned people to be vigilant and take heed of som­­­e simple safety advice and avoid those social media tasks which have the potential for danger. ­

The recent rise in popularity of mobile phone apps and games has brought a lot of people outdoors to take photos or play games with them. However, looking at screens or taking selfies near the coastline can be dangerous if people don’t take care of where they are standing and note the risks.

The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have both launched safety campaigns this summer to highlight the potential dangers of the water. The Coast Guard has highlighted a simple message ‘No Lifejacket- No Excuse’ emphasising that if you can stay afloat and communicate a request for help, then you have an excellent chance of being rescued or assisted.

960 RNLI 2016 6sht Poster v4 LR1-1

The RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign looks at the causes of accidental drowning, which has claimed on average 23 lives around the Irish coastline each year. These include cold water shock, unexpected entry into the water, rip currents and unusual waves.

Over the Bank holiday weekend last year (1-3 August), RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 29 times, with 49 people rescued including seven lives saved.

People can keep safe by being aware of the dangers around them and taking some advice before they head out. If you spot someone in the water call 999/112 and ask for the Coast Guard. If you have something that floats or they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself. Further information is available on the RNLI’s website rnli.org/RespectTheWater.

Traditionally one of the busiest lifeboat stations during the summer months is Dun Laoghaire. RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibney, who is based at the Dublin station commented: ‘Our lifeboat crew are trained and ready to launch at a moment’s notice but every second counts in any rescue and people can help themselves by being prepared and taking advice.’

960 Dun Laoghaire RNLI all-weather lifeboat
Dun Laoghaire RNLI Crew Pic: (Courtesy RNLI)

‘We launch to a lot of people who never expected to end up in the water when they left home. Call outs can range from the tide cutting people off, to slips or falls while walking near the coastline. Becoming distracted or not taking note of your surroundings has resulted, in some cases, in serious injury or death.  Looking up and taking notice of where you are means that you are aware of any risks and can enjoy your day out without having to call the rescue services.’

NIFRS seeks public views on how to work with volunteers for community fire safety

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is asking for the public’s views on how it proposes to work with volunteers to help support the delivery of fire safety advice in the local community.

A Volunteering Policy has been developed and is currently being consulted on.  NIFRS is keen to hear from the public and interested stakeholders on its proposals to recruit, support and engage Volunteers to help NIFRS to engage with the local community and in particular at risk groups.

NIFRS Volunteer Fire Safety

Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said:

“In line with good practice we have developed a Volunteering Policy to underpin our commitment to Volunteering. Having successfully run a pilot scheme in the Lisburn area in 2014 we have witnessed first-hand the benefits that volunteers can bring in directly accessing people in their local community who need our safety advice and support the most.

“We are proposing that the volunteering programme will be introduced through a phased process leading eventually to volunteer representatives for NIFRS across Northern Ireland. Volunteers bring a wealth of skills, experience and fresh ideas and we are really excited about working in partnership with the community for the community.

“We welcome your views and I am encouraging people to participate in this consultation exercise, either from a personal point of view or on behalf of a group or organisation, to help shape the future of how we engage with and utilise Volunteers to protect those most at risk across Northern Ireland.”

NIFRS Volunteers Group File Photo

The public consultation period is live and the closing date for the receipt of comments is 30 September 2016. Consultation documents can be downloaded here.   Hard copies are available by contacting the Community Engagement & Volunteering Co-ordinator, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters, 1 Seymour Street, Lisburn, BT27 4SX. Tel: (028) 9266 4221. Email: julie.rea@nifrs.org or follow NIFRS on Facebook and Twitter.

Seamus hangs up his helmet after 28 years in Edenderry

‘My most memorable fire was the Glanbia meat factory fire in Edenderry, not necessarily because of the fire itself but because of the devastating effect it had on the town’.

After spending 28 years in the fire service, Seamus McGuinness, Sub-Station Officer at Edenderry Fire Station has hung up his helmet for the final time with Offaly Fire & Rescue Service on Monday July 18th.

Seamus spent 10 years as a firefighter and the remaining 18 years as Sub Officer.

OY12 Sub Seamus McGuinness Offaly
Photo: (Sub Officer Seamus McGuinness)

On Sunday July 17th 1988, Seamus was handed an alerted and told ‘from Midnight you are a fireman’. Seamus told EmergencyTimes.com of his first call-out. ‘I was a fireman for two days when my first call came through. It was for a hay shed fire at Castlejordan on Wednesday afternoon and my second call coming in quickly after to a chimney fire in Rhode, so I got stuck into it fairly quickly’.

Seamus recalls many incidents he attended from road traffic collisions to rescues and numerous fires including house fires, shops, vehicles and garages.

Most memorable call-out
His most memorable was the Glanbia meat factory fire in Edenderry, not necessarily because of the fire itself but because of the devastating effect it had on the town. Hundreds of people were affected as the large factory was completely destroyed.

During his career in the fire service Seamus served at three different fire stations. IN 1988, when he joined, the fire station in Edenderry was located just off the town square before the station was relocated to a converted industrial unit in the Edenderry Business Park, formally part of the old shoe factory.

In more recent years, Offaly Fire & Rescue Service build a new fire station at Sister Senan Avenue where Seamus served as Sub Officer for the remainder of his career.

640 Edenderry Fire Station Offaly
Edenderry Fire Station (Pic: Fire-Ireland.com)

Biggest change to the fire service
Seamus believes the biggest change to the fire service in his 28 years was on Health & Safety and, according to Seamus, ‘all for the better’. These changes have led to improved training and equipment.

On retiring from Offaly County Fire & Rescue Service, Seamus thanked all his colleagues and officers he has worked with and met down through the years. He also thanked the fire fighters from neighbouring stations and counties who he may have met with and trained with.

Seamus told Emergency Times that his job as a retained fire fighter would not have been possible without the support and understanding from his family, to whom he extends a special thanks to.

Offaly Fire Appliance (Pic: Declan Keogh)

The Final Call
The last and final call Seamus responded to was to assist an ambulance crew from the HSE gain entry to a house at Carbury, Co. Kildare, just over the Kildare/Offaly border.

Offaly’s Chief Fire Officer Eoin O’ Ceilleachair and Senior Fire Officers at Central Fire Station in Tullamore along with Edenderry Station Officer Andrew Flanagan and Edenderry Sub-Station Officer Gabriel Conlon all wished Seamus well in his retirement and for the future. .


Commercial Premises on Fire in Naas

Fire Crews are dealing with a fire at a commercial premises at the Globe Retail Park, Naas, Co. Kildare. The fire was reported at around 3.30 this afternoon.

The fire is located at the rear of the Smyths Toystore.


Staff and customers from the other retail units in the park have been evacuated as firefighters work to bring the fire under control. It is understood the rear of the building, which backs onto the busy M7 motorway is where most of the fire is. Thick black smoke remains from the building and is crossing the motorway, causing poor visibility for drivers.

The AA have reported heavy traffic delays along the M7 and at the Monread Road in Naas.


Naas Gardaí are at the scene and the retail park remains closed off for the time being.

Health Minister pays tribute to the late Dr. Kate Granger

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD expressed his deepest sympathies with the husband and loved ones of Dr Kate Granger, who passed away on Friday.  Dr Granger made an enormous impact with her #hellomynameis campaign, which the HSE is actively encouraging and supporting staff to take on in Irish health care services.

960 Dr Kate Granger Hello My Name Is

Dr Granger spoke earlier this year at the HSE’s Communicating Health event, where she emphasised the importance of the campaign growing and being led by frontline staff.  To date Crumlin Childrens Hospital, St James’s Hospital, Wexford General Hospital, UL Hospital Group and the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) have taken on the initiative. The HSE will continue to support its roll out across the health services for the improvement of patient care and as part of Kate’s legacy.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said “I want to acknowledge the deep and lasting impression that Dr Granger has left on me, and on the staff and patients of the Irish health service. Her generosity of spirit has touched so many lives, and I know her empathy and kindness will be her legacy. I’m proud that our health service is following in her footsteps and fostering a warm and compassionate culture for communicating with patients.”

Gardaí appeal for assistance following Cork fire

Gardaí­ are investigating a fire at Vernon Mount, in Douglas in Cork city which occurred about 9.30pm last night,  Sunday 24th July.

Emergency Services responded to the scene. The building was engulfed in flames and subsequently very badly damaged.

Gardaí­ have preserved the scene and a forensic technical examination will be carried out today.

Gardaí believe a number of people may have been in the area at the time and they would like these people to come forward to assist with the investigation.

Anyone with information should contact Togher Garda Station on 021 4947120 or the Garda Confidential line 1800 666 111.

24.07.16 Cork Fire House
Pic: (Brian McMahon via Fire-Ireland.com)

Ambulance staff under investigation of misuse of drugs

Two separate investigations are underway by the Health Service Executive and An Garda Síochána following the alleged discovery of illegal drugs in a Dublin based HSE ambulance.

It is reported that a number of staff at the National Ambulance Service have been placed on protective leave as a result of the incident. Management at the National Ambulance Service reported a number of matters of concern to the gardaí in relation to the alleged discovery.

The HSE have provided gardaí with access to records documenting the movement of ambulances in relation to the investigation.

No arrests have been made in connection with the investigation.

Garda Escort Ambulance