To honour the memory of one of Ireland’s first female search and rescue pilots, the Irish Paramedicine Education and Research Network (IPERN) has launched the Dara Fitzpatrick Award to recognise inspirational women who work within the pre-hospital care community. The inaugural award will be presented on International Women’s Day (8 March 2023).
When IPERN first discussed the creation of an annual award to recognise exceptional females working in emergency medical services, which would be presented every year on International Women’s Day, the decision on who the award should be named after was immediately unanimous.
IPERN’s online panel discussion on International Women’s Day in 2022, which focused on ‘Breaking the Bias’ for women who work in EMS, concluded with the special announcement of the new award to honour the memory of Irish Coast Guard Captain Dara Fitzpatrick (1971-2017).
During her trailblazing career she flew over 800 missions with the Irish Coast Guard. Tragically in March 2017 during a rescue mission, Captain Fitzpatrick and her three crew members – Captain Mark Duffy and winch operators Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby – lost their lives off the North Mayo coast.
“When one thinks of inspirational female leaders within Ireland’s EMS sector, Dara’s name is immediately at the forefront of our thoughts,” noted Dr Niamh Cummins, IPERN’s Chair, and Public Health Lecturer at the University of Limerick. The Dara Fitzpatrick Award aims to pay tribute to her powerful legacy and will be presented annually on International Women’s Day (8 March) to an inspirational female colleague working within Ireland’s pre-hospital care community.
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