Fianna Fáil has strongly condemned the HSE’s unilateral decision to strip Dublin Fire Brigade of its role in Dublin’s ambulance service.

The decision was announced by the HSE without any consultation with Dublin Fire Brigade, despite a promise from the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar three weeks ago that no decision would be made without consultation.

Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Dublin Senator Darragh O’Brien has described it as a dangerous and short-sighted decision.  

“It is clear that there is a significant problem with emergency response times in Dublin.  But the answer is not to effectively reduce the service by removing the paramedics provided by Dublin Fire Brigade,” said Senator O’Brien. 

“This is a management issue.  The paramedics attached to both the National Ambulance Service and the Dublin Fire Brigade go above and beyond the call of duty every day, providing an exemplary service on the ground despite enormous pressures.  It is about managing these resources correctly, investing in the excellent service that we have and maximising the assets of Dublin Fire Brigade. 

“The Fire Brigade has a lot to offer in terms of its structure, its base in every town and village across the capital and its highly skilled professionals.  We should be looking at this structure and examining how we can best utilise the fire brigade to help speed up response times to medical emergencies in the capital. 

 “It is unacceptable that this decision was made without any consultation with the people who provide this service every day. I have met representatives of Dublin Fire Brigade on a number of occasions over the past two years and they have been warning that this would happen.  Fianna Fáil is seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and the HSE. We will be demanding that instead of standing back and bemoaning how bad things are, Minister Varadkar actually takes responsibility and acts.”