Over 500 volunteers to help with medical assistance

By Maurice Garvey

OVER 500 volunteers from St John’s Ambulance, Order of Malta, the Red Cross and the Civil Defence, will provide medical services to people attending the Pope’s Holy Mass at the Phoenix Park on Sunday.

The event is expected to see approximately 600,000 people in attendance – the equivalent of seven Croke Park full capacity All-Ireland finals.

Papal Cross 08

“Every possible thing you can think of has been planned for, from childbirth to deaths,” said Padraig Allen, from Ballyfermot St John’s Ambulance.

Allen, who is managing control operations for over 250 St John’s Ambulance volunteers, many of whom are arriving from across the country, says groups have put in massive work behind the scenes to prepare for the big day.

Volunteers expect to be on location in Phoenix Park and surrounding locations, from 6am to midnight on Sunday.

Allen continued: “Our members have been in training since last March. Good contingency plans are in place. There are doctors and nurses in St John’s Ambulance. Between us, the Civil Defence, Irish Red Cross and the Order of Malta, there are over 500 volunteers.

“There will be medical posts located along routes leading to Phoenix Park and first aid posts in Phoenix Park, which are colour coded. The HSE have put specialist care in place, hospital groups are involved, our own members and that of volunteers contains emergency medical technicians, some paramedics and also doctors and nurses.”

The Order of Malta acknowledged they are undertaking one of its “biggest logistical and complex duties”, but said they have been “working hard to make sure everyone is well looked after on the day.”

Undaunted by the challenge of a massive crowd and minimum 16-hour shift, Allen says it is what they are trained to do.

“A lot has gone into this. We are comfortable going in, well prepared and looking forward to it,” he said.

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