“Urgent clarification” is needed from both the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the Health Service Executive West regarding the status of the plan for the providing “safe and appropriate accommodation” for the ambulance service at Merlin Park.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD Catherine Connolly, who recently visited the site to see the accommodation first-hand and has publicly stated that she regards them as “inadequate” and the buildings “unsafe”.
The ambulance service was moved to Merlin Park on the assurance that the move would be temporary, and last for no more than six months, to allow for the construction of a car park at UHG.
However, that temporary location has now lasted almost three years and the staff of 30 have to work, according Dep Connolly, “from containers that are not fit for purpose”. She said: “Given that they are containers, many issues have arisen in relation to health and safety, security, and extremes of temperature. That this essential ambulance service would have been left in this position for almost three years is simply not acceptable.”
Dep Connolly said she has raised the matter on a number of occasions in the Dáil, and most recently in a question and answer situation with Minster Harris. In that interchange Minister Harris said he would revert to Deputy Connolly on the issue.
“I am still awaiting a response from the minister and the HSE West a month after initially bringing this matter to his attention,” she said. “In view of the lapse of time without a response, I am once again asking the minister to deal with this issue as a matter of urgency.”