Deputy Charlie McConalogue has demanded greater resources for the ambulance service in Donegal following a series of alarming delays in the response time to local emergencies.
The Dáil is this week debating a Fianna Fáil motion which raises concerns about a growing crisis in the ambulance service.
“The Government needs to wake up to the crisis in our local ambulance service. Official figures show that last year, only one in every three people with life-threatening conditions were responded to within the target time.
“The situation is worse in more rural areas. Large parts of the country, including Donegal, have often been left without any ambulance cover for long periods of time. And lives are being put at risk as a result,” said the Inishowen TD.
He also said that the ambulance service is not getting the support and resources it needs to run an efficient and safe service nationwide.
“Despite the selfless dedication of our local paramedics and the high quality of care they provide, they are being undermined by mismanagement of the service at a national level.
“The centralisation of ambulance control and dispatch has led to serious inconsistencies in ambulance cover and a lack of local knowledge when it comes to responding to emergencies. This has meant that our local ambulances are often sent to another county for emergencies, leaving large parts of Co Donegal without any cover whatsoever. It’s an extremely dangerous situation.
He added that in addition to this, the service is not adequately resourced.
The Republic of Ireland has less than 1,600 ambulance staff and a budget of €137million to cover a population of 4.6 million.
“Compare that to Scotland which has three times as many ambulance staff and just under twice the budget that we have here.
“This week in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil is asking TDs from all parties to stand up for our local ambulance service and ensure that it gets the basic resources it needs to respond safely to emergencies. People have a right to expect that they will receive a safe and timely response in the event of life-threatening emergencies,” said Deputy McConalogue.