Plans for a dedicated all-Ireland air ambulance service have been launched in Cork.

Organisers say the charity-funded project aims to raise €85,000 a month to run the service, which is based on a community-funded system operating in Cornwall in England for over 20 years.

The air ambulance will attend road traffic accidents and medical emergencies where rapid transport to hospital is needed or where remote location makes access impossible for conventional ambulances.

Chairman of the trustees of the project Derek Rowe said that he had conceived the idea after a close friend died following a road traffic accident.

The Bulker helicopter arrived in Cork today and will operate eight hours a day during weekdays.