Ambulance cover boost with deployment of RRV

February 25, 2013

By Christine Keighery

A hard-fought campaign spanning more than a decade has come to fruition with the deployment of a Rapid Response Vehicle in Crossmaglen.

The service will offer appropriate ambulance cover for the whole south Armagh area, with the vehicle being based in the town’s Fire Station.

Sinn Fein has been to the forefront of the campaign, consistently arguing that the South Armagh area suffered from “historical discrimination” in terms of ambulance cover as its residents live permanently beyond the recommended response times for ambulance cover.

Now the installation of the Rapid Response Vehicle has been wholeheartedly welcomed by the party’s local representatives, with Councillor Terry Hearty on hand to welcome the vehicle and its driver to Crossmaglen and to wish him well for the future, saving lives in South Armagh.

“I am truly delighted to bring a good news story to the people for a change. This campaign has been many years in the making and it is great that finally South Armagh will have the same level of emergency cover as other parts of the north,” Councillor Hearty said.

“For years Sinn Féin has demanded of various health ministers that lives are not put at risk in South Armagh. We challenged in the Assembly, through our MP Conor Murphy, and, more recently, our MLA Megan Fearon, put the question of equality directly to Edwin Poots.

“At a local level, we organised public meetings, rallies and petitions all giving the same message – South Armagh lives are as important as those anywhere else.

Thankfully now, at last, fairness and equality have prevailed and people from Dromintee or Cullyhanna will be able to dial 999 with confidence that they no longer need to risk driving a seriously injured or sick person to hospital themselves.”

MLA Megan Fearon also extolled the benefits of the Rapid Response cover for the area.

“The Rapid Response driver is a highly skilled paramedic who has been trained to work in tandem with the Fire and Rescue Service. This person can enter burning buildings and is authorised to wear breathing apparatus as well as carry out a wide range of medical intervention” she explained.

“This is very good news for South Armagh and I urge people to avail of the service whenever appropriate. I am glad that the historical inequality in healthcare provision in this area will no longer endanger lives needlessly.”

The Rapid Response Vehicle will be in Crossmaglen at peak times when incidents are most likely to occur. It will also be present during any major events such as football matches or festivals which bring a huge influx of people to the area.