Ireland Air Ambulance (IAA), which was established to provide an air ambulance for Northern Ireland, has announced that it has ceased trading.
The current IAA organisation was set up last year following difficulties with its predecessor, also called IAA, which hit the headlines because of governance and fundraising difficulties. In particular, its accounts showed that it spent most of its money on fundraising and administrative expenses.
The IAA said that it had ceased trading immediately because it wanted to “wind up all operations without any further liabilities”.
Bill Megraw, Interim Chief Executive said: “The new board and a small number of paid employees have worked tirelessly to turn around the situation, however, have accepted that they are no longer in a position to do so at this time”.
In 2009 a BBC investigation revealed that 90% of the money collected by the Ireland Air Ambulance charity in its first year went on wages and overheads.
The organisation’s most recent accounts for 2009 show that it raised £478,000, with £387,265 spent on ‘charitable purposes’. Most of the expenditure described as charitable, however, was for staff and fundraising. In the accounts it said that a viable air ambulance service will require income of £125,000 per month but in 2009 the total amount left after administrative and fundraising costs was just under £70,000.
The ‘new’ IAA was set up in response to the bad publicity surrounding the charity and scepticism about its ability to provide a service without the support of the health authorities. IAA says the NI Health and Social Care board is commissioning a study into the provision of an ambulance helicopter service.
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