Thurles and its surounding areas have been calling for its own category one type landing pad. It should have the specific lighting and other requirements needed for nighttime landings.
The last eight months has shown a significant increse in the number of emergency helicpoter landings in the Thurles area. To date there have been seven landings in 2014, if the year was to end now, that would be a 40% increase on the year previous. Where there were five landings in 2013, the same total for 2012. This, in the same year that Tipperary was ranked the worst county to live in for heart attacks and strokes.
Thurles has two pre-approved landing areas, with Thurles Rugby club being the main site for landings. That location at the top of the town, is ideal and it has easy access. However it’s this ease of access that raises other issues, of safety and privacy. If you have wittnessed a landing, you would see a big crowd, naturally curious to see the helicopter. With both, ambulance and helicopter crews working to comfort and stabalise patients. Gardai are needed to ensure the public doesn’t go where it shouldn’t be. You also have people looking on at the patient in a vunerable situation, possibly with family members, worried and distressed. Not something you would want you or your family to go through.
Another conern is the fact that this service can’t be called on if it is dark. This leaves along part of the day, with out this excellent service and it will only get longer as when head for winter. The aim has to be, a dedicted site and, look to have 24 hour access to it. Local councillors have already brought this to the attention of the old town council. However, Cllr. David Doran has had more luck. “Having taken the issue to the council, it was agreed that the situation had to change. We are in ongoing negotiations with the HSE and the council are curently looking for a dedicated site for a landing zone, to service Thurles and surounding areas.”