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Government members 'should resign the next morning' if Waterford loses Rescue 117

A Waterford Councillor says that if the county loses the Rescue 117 base at Waterford Airport, then all of our local government members 'should resign the next morning'.

Cllr. Adam Wyse (Fianna Fail) was one of many councillors to speak on the issue at the January Plenary meeting of Waterford City & County Council.

Councillors agreed that they would send letters to the Government, local TDs, relevant councils in the South East and the South East Mayors’ Forum stressing the need to retain the rescue service on a 24/7 basis.

A new €800m competitive tender for the service, is set to be deliberated upon by government before the end of January.

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This tender process will see a new or existing operator appointed by The Department of Transport for the next ten years. The current contract is held by CHC Ireland, but as it was issued in 2012, the ten year stint will soon come to an end - exacerbating fears that significant changes could be set to come on stream in Waterford.

Cllr. Wyse noted that while he maintains confidence in local Oireachtas members, Waterford's four TDs and Fine Gael Senator John Cummins - should Waterford lose the base, then he believes our political representatives will be 'culpable'.

"We're talking about sending a letter from the Council, and trying to send a message to ensure that Waterford doesn't lose this vital service. I'd go as far as saying that if our government TDs and Senators allow this to happen, they should be resigning from their seats the morning after. I feel as strongly as that."

The former Mayor of Waterford, acknowledged that there are a number of long-standing issues in Waterford, and he says people in the county are in fear of what could potentially come down the line.

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"We have issues in Waterford, everybody knows about them - cardiac care, the university etc. We're talking here about emergency services, issues where people are in fear of their lives. That's the word that's going around Waterford at the moment - fear. Fear that we could lose this. People are elected to represent the best interests of the people here in Waterford. If we lose this service, the TDs - I include my own party in that, and the senators, they're culpable as far as I'm concerned."

Cllr. Wyse concluded that if the worst case scenario comes about, he cannot see a way that those elected can continue to represent the county.

"I don't think we will lose this. Seeing everyone come together collectively is great - but if we do lose this, I don't see how any of them could represent the people of Waterford again. It would be very difficult."

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