Leinster Rugby has announced the Irish Community Air Ambulance as its latest charity partner for the month of April as part of the Charity Affiliate Programme which was first launched in November 2020.

Like last season, Leinster Rugby will once again work with a new charity each month in the hope of raising the profile of that charity and the Irish Community Air Ambulance has been chosen for the month of April after being nominated by laya Healthcare, one of Leinster Rugby’s premium partners.

Launched in July 2019 the Irish Community Air Ambulance is Ireland’s only charity funded Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS). The Irish Community Air Ambulance is based out of Rathcoole in North Cork and is tasked by the National Ambulance Service, operating during ‘daylight hours’ 365 days a year.

The Air Ambulance is staffed by a team of advanced paramedics and EMTs from the National Ambulance Service together with trained pilots.

They treat some of the most critically ill and injured patients, bringing them to the hospital that is best suited to their life-saving needs, not just the closest geographically.

Since its foundation in 2019 the Irish Community Air Ambulance has been tasked to more than 1,500 HEMS Air Ambulance missions each costing in the region of €3,500. Each mission is thanks to the fundraising efforts and generosity of their dedicated supporters.

Although the HEMS Air Ambulance is based in Co Cork, the charity plays a significant role in Leinster.

Last year, the HEMS Air Ambulance was tasked to incidents in Wexford, Kilkenny, Offaly, Wicklow and Kildare. It also funds a Critical Care Rapid Response service staffed by Volunteer Critical Care Doctors and an Advanced Life Support Doctor Service with community-based GPs.

In total, the charity was tasked to 625 incidents and emergencies in Leinster during 2021.

In attendance at the launch at Leinster Rugby’s head office in UCD were Leinster Rugby players Josh Murphy, Thomas Clarkson and Chris Cosgrave, as well as representatives from the Irish Community Air Ambulance and laya Healthcare.

Welcoming the news of the partnership, Mícheál Sheridan, CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance said, “It is an honour to be chosen by Leinster Rugby as their charity partner for the month of April and we thank laya Healthcare for the nomination. Our presence in the Leinster region has grown significantly in recent years and in addition to our Volunteer GPs we’re delighted to have two specialists in Emergency Medicine volunteering their time and responding to serious incidents in Dublin and surrounding counties.

“Dr Andy Patton and Dr Daragh Mathews attend major traumas, can administer anaesthesia and carry out complicated procedures at the scene, giving the patient the best-possible chance of survival. Their specialist equipment and medical supplies come with a high price so without the generosity of the general public and organisations like Leinster Rugby and laya, we would not be able to provide such a service.”

Speaking on behalf of laya, Kevin Murphy, Major Account Manager, said, “As health and wellbeing partner to Leinster Rugby, we are so delighted to be supporting the Irish Community Air Ambulance during the month of April via Leinster Rugby’s charity partnership initiative.”

For the month of April, Leinster Rugby will lend its digital support to the Irish Community Air Ambulance, in particular supporting their team of volunteers and shining a light on the work they do providing safe, effective, and timely emergency pre-hospital care to those seriously ill or injured in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Leinster Rugby Sponsorship Manager, Éamon de Búrca said, “Working with laya and the team in the Irish Community Air Ambulance over the last few weeks it is clear as we learn more and more about the work that they do, how vital they have become already as a service provider in Ireland.

“To have had nearly 500 incidents in their first full year in operation in 2020 shows how quickly they have had an impact and no doubt that impact will only grow in the coming years.

“We are delighted, together with laya, to help promote the work that Mícheál and his team do and we know that the Leinster supporters will equally get behind the awareness campaign in the coming weeks.”

Leinster Rugby also confirmed that Bank of Ireland would continue to support the charity partner scheme again this season and that its Player of the Month Award donation will now be made to the monthly charity affiliate, rather than the player in question, a move that is also supported by the Leinster Rugby players.

Like all the charities selected, the Irish Community Air Ambulance was selected by Leinster Rugby after a consultation process involving the leadership group of the men, women’s and Academy teams and consultation with the premium sponsors and partners and the OLSC.

For more information on the Irish Community Air Ambulance, visit their website.

Further information about the Leinster Rugby Charity Affiliate Programme:

  • The charities supported by Leinster Rugby as part of this initiative, include
    • 2020/21 Season: Women’s Aid (November), Debra Ireland (December), numerous local causes supported by Bank of Ireland (January), ALONE (February), Pieta (March), AsIAm (April), LauraLynn (May), the Gavin Glynn Foundation (June), Irish Heart Foundation (August) and CRY (September)
    • 2021/22 Season: Alzheimer Society of Ireland (November), Peter McVerry Trust (December), numerous local causes supported by Bank of Ireland such as Outcomers, Citywise Means Business, New Horizon and Purple House (January), the RNLI (February) and Irish Cancer Society (March)
  • The selection process for all the charities includes the Leinster Rugby players, Leinster Rugby sponsors and partners and also the Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC)