Slow delivery of Connemara ambulance base criticised

galway daily news Planning application submitted for long awaited Ambulance Base in Recess
Pic: Gregory Clarke

The provision of an ambulance service in Connemara has been hamstrung by the lack of an ambulance base, multiple Galway TDs have said.

The National Ambulance Service confirmed last August that an additional ambulance, another emergency vehicle, and eleven staff would be provided to improve ambulance services in Connemara.

In November, it was announced that the Community Health Centre building in Recess had been chosen as the site of the new ambulance base for the region.

However, speaking in the Dáil several TDs for Galway West said that little progress has been made since then.

Deputy Catherine Connolly said that there “seems to have been no substance” to the promise to deliver an ambulance base for the region, and that more pressure needs to be applied.

Éamon Ó Cuív said that the additional staff and vehicles were delivered in “record time” between September and December, and that he was looking for a commitment from the Minister to get the base done.

Minister of State Frank Feighan said that the HSE is currently liaising with the county council on road access to the proposed ambulance base.

The Minister said that it is anticipated that a planning application for the project will be made in the third quarter of this year.

“In the interim, national ambulance service crews in north Connemara are being deployed from a base in Clifden.”

“This temporary measure will remain in place until works at the building in Recess are completed and the site becomes operational.”

The delivery of additional emergency services for the Connemara area was the result of a years-long campaign by the Connemara Ambulance Crisis Group.

Deputy Mairead Farrell said that campaigners had been fighting for this for a long time, and that the base is extremely important for the area.

“The Minister of State said there is a challenge in respect of waiting times. A challenge in this context can mean death for people in respect of waiting times.”

Deputy Ó Cuív both said that a commitment needs to be given that the timeline outlined by the Minister of State needs to be adhered to.

“Because there will be a minimum of at least three months after the application has been submitted before planning can be legally approved, and that is if there is no appeal?”

“Therefore, we need this to keep moving forward. It will be well into next year before this building is completed.”