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Kerry Airport COVID tests now available at Bon Secours Hospital

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TESTING: Kerry Airport passengers can now get a COVID-19 test at the Bon Secours Hospital in Tralee without the need of a doctor's referral.

 

Kerry Airport Ireland and Bon Secours Hospital Tralee will provide COVID-19 tests for pre and post air travellers in and out of Kerry Airport this Christmas and into the New Year. The five-step online self-referral tests will be carried out at Bon Secours Hospital Tralee, not at Kerry Airport.

The test can be taken by outbound passengers a few days before they fly and inbound passengers a few days after they arrive in the county and once they have complied with any isolation regulations that are in place at that time. The test costs €80 – the lowest in the country.

The idea will overrule the need to get a doctor's referral before attending the drive-in clinic at the Tralee hospital.

“It’s beyond comprehension that it has become such a difficult decision, whether to travel home or not. This is something that our diaspora would not give a second thought about any other year. But this is not any year and, so far, the advice from those who know is ‘don’t travel’ because the risks associated with COVID transmission are too high,” the Chief Executive of Kerry Airport Ireland, John Mulhern, said. “Most will sacrifice the trip this time for the greater good, but for some there are people very special to them who live alone or have lost all their social outlets this year. Many are feeling depressed or at least a little sad and need company. These visits home are essential to their health and well-being and we must make them possible, but safe.”

There are currently two daily return flights between Kerry Airport and Dublin with Aer Lingus Regional while Ryanair are due to resume their services to London (Luton and Stansted) in mid-December.

Passengers who wish to undergo a COVID test can visit www.bonsecours.ie/bst_selfreferralform.

Once the referral form has been completed, the Laboratory Department at Bon Secours Hospital Tralee will confirm the appointment date and time via email.

The routine hours for the swabbing clinic are daily between 8.15am to 10am, Monday to Saturday,

The swabbing clinic is in the staff car park of the Bon Secours Hospital Tralee. The entrance to the clinic is via the Matt Talbot Road. This is a drive through clinic and you will be asked to remain in your car.

A payment of €80 for the test may be made online when making the referral or over the phone when the appointment is being confirmed.

FUNDING

Meanwhile, Kerry Airport is in line to get €1.5 million in funding as part of the annual Government funded Regional Airport's Programme.

The funding, which will go towards enhancing safety operations at the airport such as air traffic control, fire services and security, is an increase in the €200,000 awarded last year.

It is also in addition to the €1.17 granted in July for capital investment and the €6m COVID-19 operational support funding, announced last month and that will be shared with Donegal and Knock Airports.

“Kerry Airport is enormously important both to the infrastructure and economy of County Kerry and the Southwest. This funding, coupled with the financial supports provided in the budget in October and early November will go some way towards helping Kerry Airport remain financially sustainable as it plans for a time beyond COVID-19,” Kerry TD and Minister for Education Norma Foley said.

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COMMUNITY AIR AMBULANCE TASKED 512 TIMES DURING 2021

The Irish Community Air Ambulance has yet to receive any sort of government funding despite being called out on 512 missions in 14 counties during 2021. Last year was the ICAA busiest year since the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance launched in July 2019. There were 490 taskings in 2020. The organisation is […]

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The Irish Community Air Ambulance has yet to receive any sort of government funding despite being called out on 512 missions in 14 counties during 2021.

Last year was the ICAA busiest year since the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance launched in July 2019. There were 490 taskings in 2020.

The organisation is Ireland’s only charity-funded HEMS Air Ambulance. It works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and responds to serious incidents and medical emergencies from its base in Rathcool, near Millstreet, in Co. Cork. Each helicopter mission costs an average of €3,500, all of which has to be raised or donated.

The CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said that they engaged with the Government and regional political leaders throughout 2021 to secure some State support for the vital service.

FUNDING

Micheál Sheridan said, “The HSE is releasing funding to private Ambulance firms to provide support during the continuing crisis yet the Irish Community Air Ambulance is still entirely funded by public donations. The increased number of taskings during 2021 show that we provide a vital service,” said Mr Sheridan.

“The cost to run the charity during 2022 is expected to be €2.1 million which is a significant amount of money to raise. We are so grateful to all our supporters who help us to bring hope to those in emergency situations but we will continue to engage with the Government to provide funding during these uncertain times.”

There were more calls to cardiac arrests, farming-related incidents and falls from heights during 2021. Cardiac arrests accounted for one in five calls with 103 taskings last year, that’s up from 81 during 2020.

July and April were the busiest months of the year for the service with 57 missions completed each month. Cork, Kerry and Tipperary accounted for the majority of taskings. The Irish Community Air Ambulance was also tasked to Clare, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Mayo, Galway, Offaly, Laois, Wicklow and Kildare.

One in every three taskings required an airlift to hospital. There were 111 transfers to Cork University Hospital during 2021 which equates to 66% of all transfers. University Hospital Limerick accounts for 20%.

TRANSFERS

Micheal Sheridan added, “There were also transfers to hospitals in Kerry, Tallaght, Galway, Temple Street, Crumlin and The Mater as we saw an increase in the number of times we were required to transfer children and young people to specialist paediatric hospitals in Dublin. We cover an area of 25,000 square kilometres and 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 hospital geographically.”

SERIOUSLY INJURED

Diarmuid O’Donovan from Cork was seriously injured when he was thrown over the handlebars of his bike while cycling around Slea Head, Co Kerry in May 2021. He said he needed to be brought to a dedicated Trauma Centre quickly.

“A moment of carelessness saw me hit the road. I was on my own but thankfully it wasn’t long before I was found. Paramedics, a local doctor, the local Fire Service and Gardai all responded,” he explained.

“I was drifting in and out of consciousness and it quickly emerged that I needed to be at Cork University Hospital as soon as possible. I wasn’t in a suitable state for a two-and-a-half-hour journey by road so the Irish Community Air Ambulance was tasked and landed in Ventry. The journey to CUH by helicopter took just 30 minutes. I had 28 different bone breaks including my spine, shoulder and ribs as well as a punctured lung. I underwent several procedures that evening and spent 12 days in hospital. I believe it could have been far worse if I had not been transported to CUH so quickly and that my recovery has been much faster as a result.”

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Now is a good time to plan features in the garden

Now is an excellent time to have a look at your garden and plan any new beds, water features or seating areas. With relatively little growth, it is easy to take measurements and mark out where your new project will take place. There are a few things to bear in mind when planning new features. […]

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Now is an excellent time to have a look at your garden and plan any new beds, water features or seating areas.

With relatively little growth, it is easy to take measurements and mark out where your new project will take place.
There are a few things to bear in mind when planning new features. First, the practical: are there water pipes, septic tanks, gas or electricity lines etc in the way?
Or, if planning a feature where construction is required, is there access to water and electricity?
Secondly, if you are planning a new bed, what is the soil like in that area, or have you better ground elsewhere which can be exploited?
I have learned over the years that the best thing to do with an area of bad soil is to cover it with paving!
On the other hand, if you are planning a patio, should you excavate the topsoil for use elsewhere? Planning a new bed or planting area is a lot of fun, and I always think it is a good idea to take the time, close your eyes and give your imagination free reign. Consult magazines, gardening websites and social media!
Have a look at a friends’ or neighbours’ gardens for ideas.
Decide how much time you have to maintain it, and keep in mind Irish weather, commitments and other hobbies.
Often we take on gardening projects which we think, at the time, we will have time for. Say you want to commit to, for example, three hours of gardening a week – Saturday morning is the one time you have free.
Guaranteed one of those Saturdays it will rain! Then there is a morning spent mowing. Weeding will take up another few hours. Time flies, no matter what you do…and with age, I am coming to realise we have to work realistically with the free time we have. Gardening should not become a job you are forced to do.
Plan what the new area will be used for, and again, keep time in mind. Maybe a mixed area is better than a single purpose one.
What I mean by this is, you may have decided this year is the year to grow vegetables. Rather than planning out half your garden as a rotating vegetable garden, it may be better to plan out two small beds and a seating area, surrounded by an area of wildflowers.
This can then easily be converted to a larger veg garden if you feel the trial run went well, or converted entirely to a patio. In my experience, it is wise not to commit to a large scale project, especially if you are new to it.

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