Edenderry’s part time ambulance service responded to over 650 calls between January and early December this year according to Cllr Noel Cribbin.
Speaking at the December meeting of Edenderry Town Council last week Cllr Cribbin said he had received the figures from the co-ordinator of the town’s Emergency Dispatch point. “These figures show that this service is very much needed in the town.”
Cllr Cribbin went on to appeal to Offaly County Council to once again seek a meeting with the HSE to work on finding a permanent location for the service. “Offaly County Council and the HSE are two arms of the same Government. If there is an accident out the road the fire service and the ambulance service will both go to it, so it makes sense for them to go from the same location. We all need to put our shoulder to the wheel and to find a solution.”
Offaly County Council could be a role model and co-operate with the HSE, urged Cllr Fergus McDonnell. “Why can’t the two state agencies join together on this matter. It would save money for the HSE to locate the ambulance service at the existing state-of-the-art fire station.”
“It would be a win/win situation all round. It is an ideal location. Offaly County Council should sit down with the HSE and at least try to agree,” added Cllr McDonnell.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Jim Murrin warned that Edenderry was in danger of losing the part time Emergency Dispatch ambulance service “because the Council is not working with the HSE.
“I am again asking the Council to come together with the HSE and put something in place before we lose our ambulance,” he added.
Cllr Fergus McDonnell said he was reluctant to say “I told you so,” but he was concerned that the town’s limited ambulance service could be lost if a suitable location could not be found. “We need to make sure that whatever measures are necessary are taken.”
Cllr Cribbin added that ambulance crews had gone to their trade union to complain about the current facilities from which they were operating. “If they can’t do their job properly from there they are going to look for better job conditions,” he warned.
“I don’t see why Offaly County Council can’t appeal to the HSE for this to be sorted. They shoul dgo back to the HSE officials and meet them half way. That state of the art fire station can be used for both fire and ambulance services. Surely some sort of agreement can be worked out with the HSE. These people won’t continue to work in these conditions and our temporary service will be gone,” added Cllr Cribbin.
Director of Services Declan Conlon said the County Manager was very positive but that the matter was an HSE issue. Officials had shown the HSE lots of vacant spaces in the town.
Cllr Leddin said the HSE doesn’t have the money and he asked why couldn’t the ambulance service be situated at the state of the art fire station. “They are both professional paramedic services and they need appropriate surroundings. Why don’t they try it as a temporary measure and see how it works?” asked Cllr Leddin.
Cllr Patricia Brady added “We have the figures now to back up our demands for the ambulance service.”
“The problem is lack of communication between the HSE and the Council,” said Cllr Murrin. “It is up to the HSE to contact the Council. The onus should be on the HSE to contact the Council. We are now in danger of losing our emergency ambulance service.”
It was agreed by the councillors that an urgent meeting would be sought with the local representative of the ambulance service.