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Air Ambulance fundraiser in memory of Rescue 116 crew

Wednesday, 19th July, 2017 7:10am

Story by Siobhan Cronin
Air Ambulance fundraiser in memory of Rescue 116 crew

John Kearney (left), a co-founder of Irish Community Air Ambulance, with medical and flight crew at Cork Airport, where the helicopter will be based, providing a vital lifesaving service to the greater Munster area. (Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney, Provision)

A TALK on the Lusitania and the safety of life at sea, being held to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance, is being dedicated to the crew of Rescue 116.

A host of high-profile guests will be at the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork on July 25th when Goleen lawyer Michael Kingston, a former ‘UK Maritime Lawyer of the Year,’ delivers the talk.

Mr Kingston is an expert in safety at sea, having worked closely with Lloyds of London on international safety codes and, most recently, with international representatives on the Polar Code.

Captain John Mauger, commanding officer of the US Coastguard’s Marine Safety Center, and Canadian ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, will attend the talk.

Dana Eidsness, the director of Maine’s North Atlantic Development Office will also be in attendance, and Mr Kingston hopes to use the opportunity to bring the North American visitors on a tour of West Cork to meet local business people and see what the region has to offer.

Mr Kingston says the talk, which is also being supported by members of Munster’s rugby squad, will be dedicated to the lost crew of Rescue 116, which went down off the coast of Co Mayo in March.

The lawyer traces his life-long interest in maritime safety back to the tragic death of his own father, Tim Kingston, who died in the Whiddy disaster in Bantry Bay, when an oil tanker caught fire in 1979.

Michel Kingston said it was ‘an enormous honour’ to have such high-profile individuals from the US and Canada supporting the talk, which demonstrates the importance of the Lusitania tragedy in history, but also the recognition of  Cork’s prominence and potential in the maritime world. 

He hopes the visitors may also have time to view the great work that is being carried out at the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy.

Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said the airport was delighted to support the event. ‘Michael is an explorer par excellence, a native of Goleen and a frequent air traveller. We know this will be a tremendous event and we appreciate Michael’s ongoing support for new air services from Cork,’ he said.

‘The talk is in aid of the Irish Air Ambulance, which coming from Goleen, I felt compelled to support, and I have the upmost respect for our rescue services,’ Michael told The Southern Star. ‘Captain John Mauger’s support demonstrates the respect for those services here in Ireland. It is great to see our community organisations across Munster and Ireland recognising the importance of this initiative, encouraging our community to come out in force on July 25th as a mark of respect to our rescue services, and to support our Air Ambulance which will save lives across Munster and further afield.’

Frankie Sheahan, Doug Howlett and David Wallace (who also sailed for Ireland) of Munster also said they were happy to lend their support to the event.

It is hoped that, when up and running, the Air Ambulance initiative will be staffed by qualified medical personnel, who can be on site in the fastest time possible, providing life-saving treatment to those who are seriously ill or injured in remote locations. To donate €4 to the Air Ambulance fund, text FLIGHT to 50300.

Tickets for Michael Kingston’s talk on the Lusitania, including Cork’s prominence in maritime affairs, are €12 from Eventbrite.ie. 

• Search for ‘RMS Lusitania & Modern Safety at Sea – A talk by Michael T Kingston.’