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Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Statement regarding Creeslough Tragedy

25th October 2023

Industrial Action

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has been made aware of recent media reports relating to our response to the tragic incident at Creeslough on the 7th October 2022 which state that some NIAS crews were unable to respond as they did not hold a necessary visa.

We wish to put on record that the NIAS response to Creeslough was not affected in any way due to border or visa issues. No NIAS staff were prevented in crossing the border for any reason and we are deeply concerned at any reports suggesting this, as such comments will be deeply upsetting to the victims and families who were and still are affected by this tragedy.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) received an emergency call for assistance from the National Ambulance Service (NAS) in Donegal at 15:37hrs on Friday 7 October 2022, following an explosion at Applegreen Service Station, Creeslough, County Donegal.

NIAS immediately dispatched a range of resources including the Air Ambulance with our Helicopter Emergency Medical Team, our specialist Hazardous Area Response Team, ambulance officers, paramedics and emergency medical technicians as well as some of our non-emergency transport crews to assist our colleagues in the National Ambulance Service. NIAS dispatched further crews on the evening of the 7th of October to relieve those who had responded during the afternoon.

Our HART team and Emergency Planning resources remained on scene overnight and well into the weekend as they worked with our colleagues in the National Ambulance Service to continue rescue and recovery efforts. The unstable condition of the building made this a very difficult and dangerous scene, but our HART crews are specifically trained to deal with such incidents. Sadly, our crews also assisted in transporting some of the deceased to the mortuary in Letterkenny.

Our thoughts remain with our colleagues, friends and neighbours who were affected by this incident, and in particular those in the Creeslough community who were directly impacted.


Background information:

A Memorandum of Understanding is in place between NIAS and the Republic of Ireland’s National Ambulance Service, since September 2019 to provide for cross-border assistance in the management and resourcing of emergency and urgent calls, and cross-border assistance, in a declared major incident.

As part of our preparation for EU Exit, NIAS identified a very small number of our staff who were non- EU nationals and worked with them in regards to the necessary legislation to continue to work unhindered.