Swords Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service

This issue was discussed last week at the HSE Forum in Kells under questions by Sean Kenny, Christy Burke and myself. According to John Tierney, the HSE owe Dublin City Council around €3 million in unpaid bills for the ambulance service. We are determined to force the administrators to come to a sensible arrangement and I, as Forum Chairman, will ensure that the impasse is resolved now.

Under the 1993 report of the Review Group of the Ambulance Service responsibility for providing ambulance services in North County Dublin area was allocated to the HSE. Due to the under provision by them for the number of emergency calls being received and as a result, Dublin Fire Brigade found they were very frequently attending calls in this area which had a detrimental effect on their service in the North City.

In 2007 the existing retained stations in Swords and Malahide were replaced by a full-time station in Swords. As Dublin Fire Brigade firefighters are also paramedics, this had the effect of placing a paramedic resource in the centre of an area which was under provided for by the HSE to the extent of approximately 4500 calls per annum. In order to prevent the weight of demand for these calls falling on the Swords fire appliance, being the nearest available paramedic resource, it was decided to locate an emergency ambulance in the station. The HSE have never made any contribution to the cost of this ambulance.

In the current financial circumstances, and given that no funding is forthcoming from HSE, the manager is considering withdrawing the emergency ambulance from the Swords fire station. Urgent discussions have been requested with the HSE, seeking their assurance that they can provide an adequate ambulance service in the area.

Charlie Lowe
Area Manager

Contact: Hugh O’Neill, Chief Fire Officer, Dublin Fire Brigade
Tel: 673 4000