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Air ambulance to continue despite controversy

Howard Lake | 4 August 2009 | News

Ireland Air Ambulance (IAA) has vowed to continue operations despite recent revelations about its finances and the viability of its plans to launch an air ambulance in Ireland.

Last month the BBC reported that IAA has spent nearly 90% of its first year income on fundraising and administration and that its plans to establish an air ambulance had not received the backing of emergency or health authorities in Ireland.

In a statement on its website IAA says it has raised nearly £700,000 towards the cost of operating an air ambulance.

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“We have done this in good faith to meet a genuine charitable need. Our fundraising has always focused on creating a ‘sustainable’ programme. With continued support we are close to realising our ambition to launch this vital life saving service,” the statement says.

IAA is unapologetic about its finances and says its high fundraising and administration cost ‘has been confirmed as normal by the NI Charities Commission and a leading accountancy firm.’ The NI Charities Commission has recently appointed board members but is not yet operational in Northern Ireland.

The website also reveals that two of the charity’s three trustees are close relations of the senior staff member. One of the trustees is the wife of its manager while another is a sister in law.

IAA’s last set of audited accounts were for the year ending March 2007 and it now says ‘that although there was no legal requirement to undergo an audit in 2007-2008 [18 months] this was insisted upon by the Trustees.’

www.irelandairambulance.org

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