THE lack of official ambulances for major GAA games is “worrying”, a Tipperary councillor has stated.
Speaking at a HSE West Forum meeting in Galway on Tuesday, Councillor David Doran said it is “worrying” that there is no plan in place for an extra ambulance when Semple Stadium in Thurles is hosting a big GAA game.
The National Ambulance Service (NAS) has confirmed it does not have the funding or the resources to cover any GAA match in any venue this year.
While NAS chief ambulance officer, Paudie O’Riordan, acknowledged that there was a time when the service was in a position to provide ambulance cover within a GAA stadium, it is no longer in a position to do this.
Mr O’Riordan pointed out the GAA is responsible for putting adequate medical services in place, as the main event organiser.
In February, Tipperary football manager, Liam Kearns, expressed concern about the length of time it took an ambulance to arrive at Cusack Park to bring injured mentor, Shane Stapleton, to hospital, following an incident during a National Football League game between Clare and Tipperary.
Mr Stapleton was taken to hospital after he fell to the ground and hit his head on some concrete near the sideline.
Councillor Doran asked the HSE what arrangements are in place to provide ambulance cover at Semple Stadium in Thurles, when there are large crowds gathered on a regular basis for various GAA matches.
He predicted the National Hurling League semi-final clash between Tipperary and Limerick could attract up to 20,000 patrons to the venue.
“If there is a serious incident and a player has to be taken away by ambulance, we are totally exposed,” he stated.
“This is totally inadequate. There could be 10 or 12 big matches in Thurles, attracting more than 50,000 at full capacity, yet no additional ambulance is being made available,” he continued.
The NAS has confirmed there are two ambulances based in Thurles by day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and one by day on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It has one crew each night Monday to Sunday.
By Dan Danaher