Ambulance crews ‘in tears’ as neighbours help sick man

Neighbours get out shovels to clear a path for ambulance to take patient to hospital

There were many instances of good neighbourliness during the recent cold snap, but the people of Ballinteer, Co Dublin took it to another level.

An ambulance crew from Donnybrook Fire Station answered an emergency call on Sunday to a house in the Broadford estate, Ballinteer.

A very ill man needed to go to hospital but the estate he was living in was snowbound and crews could not get an ambulance or fire truck anywhere near the house.

The man had a very bad infection which paramedics feared would turn into sepsis.


Neighbours noticed the ambulance and fire truck struggling in the snow. Within a few minutes 30 neighbours had materialised with shovels.

They began to clear the path to the house which was at the top of a hill, but the ambulance crew decided it was still too dangerous to attempt an entry into the estate.

Then a good Samaritan appeared with his 4x4 which could navigate the snowbound roads.

The ambulance crew put the scoop stretcher in the back. The patient was put into the back of the 4x4 and then transferred to the waiting ambulance.

The actions of the people of Ballinteer left the ambulance crew with “tears in their eyes seeing these people come to our and their neighbour’s assistance”.

‘Absolutely fabulous’

Firefighter Michael Duggan, who was on duty, said the response of neighbours had been"absolutely fabulous".

He added: “We had a churning feeling in our stomach. We were overwhelmed by the response. It was community spirit at the best. It is one of those times that doesn’t come along too often when we see the public acting in this way. We hadn’t a hope of getting near the house otherwise.”

Mr Duggan posted on the Donnybrook Fire Brigade Facebook page: "Well done to you all. We achieved what we set out to do and your assistance was greatly appreciated by us all. Be proud of yourselves. We are proud of all the people who helped us out during these very testing times. Well done!!"

The man was taken to St James’s Hospital where he is now recovering.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times