Popular Des retires from National Ambulance Service after 36 years

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A PARAMEDIC who spent the past 36 years working for the National Ambulance Service (NAS), and was based out of the NAS’s Airton Road premises in Tallaght, finished his last shift on Thursday ahead of his retirement and marked the occasion with his family and colleagues.

Des Durkin (63), who lives in Millbrook Lawns in Tallaght, began his career in the Army Medical Corps 45 years ago and then went on to work as a paramedic for the NAS, first in Loughlinstown before transferring to Airton Road several years ago.

Des Durkin DSC 0177

Des Durkin with his colleagues at NAS's premises on Airton Road 

During his time working as a paramedic, Des has treated a variety of people and assisted with numerous medical emergencies, including delivering babies, reviving people who’ve had heart attacks and attending to people at the scene of road traffic accidents.

Des told The Echo: “When I worked in the Department of Defence I wanted to do First Aid, so I did that, and then I went into the Medical Corps in the army and I haven’t looked back since.

“Since then, all I’ve been doing is looking after people who are sick. I like seeing a positive outcome for a patient who was very sick, like someone with [complications from] diabetes or who has had a heart attack.”

Reflecting on his decision to retire, Des said: “I’ll miss the craic, because I had a blast every day that I went into work – I would do it all over again.”

Des, who is originally from Walkinstown, is well-known among his colleagues for his infectious sense of humour, and while he’ll miss his time in the ambulance service, he still plans to keep busy and active during his retirement.

Keep up the skills

“I’ll do a bit more work volunteering with the Civil Defence,” Des said. “I want to keep up the pace and keep up the skills that I’ve learned over the past 45 years, and pass on my skills too.”

The father-of-two is also held in high esteem by his colleagues, with paramedic and Des’s work partner Eoghan Connolly saying that Des is “a very kind, very competent and caring paramedic.

“I’m delighted for him that he’s retired – it’s a tough job. I’m happy to see him retiring in good health.”

The popular paramedic’s retirement was marked after the end of his final shift on Thursday with a celebration in the NAS’s Airton Road premises, where colleagues from the NAS, Dublin Fire Brigade and Des’s family were in attendance.

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