Helicopter crews with the Irish Coast Guard have been awarded full air ambulance status more than a year ahead of schedule, The Irish Times reports.
Under the upgrade, there will be at least one trained paramedic on board any search and rescue flight whether inland or at sea. Previously they operated at 'emergency medical technician' level.
Paramedic status allows trained crews to give injections and administer advanced techniques to clear airways or treat cardiac arrest.
Transport Minister Pat Carey, who comfirmed the move, said: "“The introduction of new technology and the improved paramedic level of care will see quite a significant improvement in capabilities.”