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Maynooth's main street Google Streetview

Midnight ambulance patrol for Maynooth

The service has been set up following the tragic death of a young man on Maynooth’s main street.

THE ORDER OF Malta ambulance corps has started providing midnight cover on the Main Street of Maynooth, county Kildare.

At the request of local councillor Frank O’Rourke, the service is running as a pilot project on Saturday nights. Last weekend, seven members of the corps – including two qualified nurses – provided care to six people.

Two were attended to because of head injuries and another couple were seen to because of an “overindulgence” on alcohol, officer in charge David Wallace told

Two people were subsequently transferred to hospital at the request of HSE Ambulance Control.

The medical crew and volunteers are on hand from 10pm to 3am on the busy street, popular with students attending NUI Maynooth and young adults from the surrounding North Kildare area. They aim to provide a first responder service for those who become acutely unwell or injured while on a night out.

The ambulance crew will take people in, assess them, treat if required and discharge. If something more sinister is detected, the patient can be stabilised and transferred to hospital by a HSE ambulance.

The service was set up after the recent tragic death of a young man who sustained a serious head injury and subsequently stopped breathing on Maynooth Main Street. Cllr O’Rourke hopes to try to prevent any similar events in the future.

At the time of the young man’s collapse, a volunteer member of the Nass Order of Malta unit was nearby and performed CPR. Unfortunately, he was not able to save his life.

The unit has liaised with the Gardaí and the HSE ahead of setting out last week. Wallace explained that seven volunteers are deployed to provide “safety in numbers”.

“These things are unpredictable,” said Wallace. “We are qualified to give advanced level of first aid and there is a qualified nurse to supervise the whole operation.”

This is the first scheme of its type in Ireland, although similar services do exist in the UK such as SOS Bus.

Although it is run on a volunteer basis, there are overheads to cover and Wallace is hoping that a number of local businesses will step up to support it.

Cllr O’Rourke has approached companies and publicans for support but for the moment he is covering some of the costs himself through a voluntary contribution.

He told that he wanted to get the project off the ground – something he has done just four weeks after he was first approached by the bereaved family.

Only 14 months into his first term, he said he treats any issues brought to him by the public with the same level of urgency.

He said the primary care facility that the Order of Malta supplies on a Saturday night is not a result of a culture of drinking or violence but is a necessity in a busy, populated area.

“People are out enjoying themselves. Sometimes, it can happen that they overindulge or over do it. In that case, back up is needed,” he said. “Anywhere where there is a large population and people are out having a good time, there may be an incident through nobody’s fault. It makes sense to have medics on hand as quickly as possible.”

He sees the project as a temporary primary care facility that could also assist in the bigger picture.

“It is magnificent that people can be assessed, treated and discharged right there. That may keep them out of GP offices and Emergency Departments. This project could prove very worthwhile and tick a lot of boxes.”

Read: Students focus on side of drink culture ‘neglected by reality TV’>

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