Council urged to provide first responder help in Covid pandemic

Limerick City and County Council Director of Services Kieran Lehane

A MOTION was brought to this month’s meeting of Limerick City and County Council calling for support to the Health Service Executive in the current Covid pandemic situation.

The proposal from councillors Adam Teskey and Stephen Keary (FG), Kevin Sheahan (FF), Emmett O’Brien and John O’Donoghue (IND) asked the Council to allow the Fire and Emergency Services be activated to medical emergencies where there are delays for ambulances due to staffing shortages.

They maintained that this would provide first responder assistance in life and death situations.

Director of Services, Kieran Lehane told council members that the local authority has been working very closely to support the HSE since the start of the pandemic on a wide range of matters.

These included the release of staff to work for the HSE, facilitating pop-up test centres, assisting with traffic management for the vaccination centres and planning for a range of responses.

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“Close collaboration between the agencies of the State has been a key cornerstone as Ireland responded to the major and unheralded challenges associated with the pandemic.There has been an excellent working relationship between the principal response agencies throughout the pandemic as part of the ‘whole of government approach’ at the local and regional level,” he said.

“The issue of ambulances is currently being discussed at national level between the Health Service Executive and National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management under the aegis of the Department of Housing,Local Government and Heritage.

“Pending progress at national level, the Limerick Fire and Emergency Management  cannot progress this matter until the national discussions have concluded,” Mr Lehane explained.