Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher has called on all sides in the ambulance strike to engage with each other to find a resolution to the current dispute.

Around 500 members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) are striking today over the HSE’s refusal to recognise the union.

Senator Gallagher raised the issue in the Seanad today.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of the ambulance service, particularly in rural areas like Co. Monaghan.  There are already serious issues with ambulance response times across Monaghan and Cavan, including a number of instances where it has taken more than 70 minutes for an ambulance to reach a patient”, said Senator Gallagher.

“Concerns about ambulance provision remain and these must be addressed.  Ambulance workers play a key role within our health service and all attempts must be made to resolve the current issue.

“I am particularly worried about the prospect of escalating action.  If a proposed work to rule goes ahead, this could have serious implications for the service in Monaghan. Although there are 16 rostered staff members in the county, there are just 11 permanent positions at the moment. The other posts are filled through overtime and are covered by unrostered staff.  A work to rule could have devastating consequences.

“I am calling on the Minister for Health and the HSE to engage with the unions on this issue and to avert any further action”.