Donegal Airport at Carrickfinn
The cancellation of the Donegal to Dublin flight has been described by a spokesperson for the Donegal Action for Cancer Care (DACC) as a ‘devastating blow' to all patients in the north west.
Voluntary worker, Betty Holmes said she couldn’t emphasise enough how the weekend announcement will impact cancer patients and other patients who used the vital service from Donegal to Dublin for essential hospital appointments.
On Saturday morning, it was announced that all Aer Lingus regional flights operated by Stobart Air had been cancelled with immediate effect after Stobart Air announced it had ceased operations.
Ms Holmes said: “This is a loss again of another service for cancer patients in Donegal.”
The voluntary worker has received numerous calls, to date, from worried patients who use the service.
Ms Holmes also said she was concerned about the future prospects of patients being able to re-book vital appointments in light of the HSE cyber attack.
“Our Government has a key responsibility to have that flight reinstated as soon as possible. Not just as part of a normal service but as part of a life-saving service,” she said.
She urged all politicians to 'step up to the mark’ and get this organised as soon as possible.
On Sunday, Ms Holmes said she received a call from an old age pensioner who was exceptionally concerned over the recent announcement.
Ms Holmes added that this was stress that patients can do without especially when they are dealing with an illness.
Many people, she said, are also struggling with finances as a result of the pandemic.
Many of those who travel from Donegal to Dublin for vital health appointments would have organised their appointments based on flights arriving from Donegal in Dublin and supports had been put in place for them, over the years, as a result of this mechanism.
Ms Holmes said that she envisaged that there are some people who will have severe difficulty making the journey due to the gravity of their illness.
She described the 5-hour journey to Dublin in a car as being archaic and urged the Government to reinstate the flight as a medical matter rather than based on finances. Flights had been subsidised for cancer patients, in the past.
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