The M9 motorway between Waterford and Danesfort will open at 11am tomorrow morning (Monday 21st March) but will be overshadowed by protests against the limiting of the service of the search and rescue helicopter based in Waterford to operating in daylight hours. It is hoped that traffic will be flowing by 2pm, and the M9 will bypass Mullinavat, Ballyhale, Stoneyford and Knocktopher – taking up to 25 minutes off the average journey from Kilkenny.

The protests mentioned above relate to the helicopter which is based at Waterford Airport and provides search & rescue cover to the Irish Sea and Atlantic Coasts around Waterford, Wexford and beyond. If somebody is in difficulty at 9:30pm just off Tramore Bay, they will have to wait 40 minutes for a helicopter to come from Shannon instead of waiting 2 minutes for one from Waterford Airport.

A Facebook Group called “Save 24hr Search & Rescue Helicopter Cover in South-East” is now available to Join – Click here to Join the Facebook Group

It will be interesting to see what Noel Dempsey has to say on the visit the South East – the area where the essential helicopter service is based. Some text from the facebook groups page says that the Irish Government saved a measly €1m euro by not having a 24 hour service – so lives lost are basically ok as long as we can have savings and two days after making this decision they spent the equivalent money traveling around the world in the Government Jet for St.Patricks Day and filling their stomachs.

There is an on-line petition which you can sign to Save the South-Easts 24hr Search & Rescue Helicopter Cover : http://www.petitiononline.com/sar01/

It is good to see our motorway link coming to the south-east at last but it is the government giving with one hand and taking away with the other. There are plenty of other things they could save money on … but a life saving service should not be one of them.

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