Connemara fight for ambulance equality

The Connemara Ambulance Crisis protest in Galway city on Wednesday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.
The Connemara Ambulance Crisis protest in Galway city on Wednesday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Up to 100 people from Connemara took part in a public protest in Galway city yesterday to highlight the inadequate ambulance service in the region.

The Ambulance Crisis Group has been campaigning for over three years to secure a service that would reduce waiting times of up to two to three hours.

Yesterday, members of the public from both south and north Connemara took part in the protest from Eyre Square to the HSE offices in Shantalla where a letter outlining their grievances was handed in.

Patricia Keane, spokesperson for the Crisis Group, said the letter was a gesture as both the HSE locally and the two most recent Health Ministers, Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris, were well aware of the inadequacies of the ambulance cover.

The seriousness of the situation was further highlighted by a GP in Carraroe who complained that a patient of his could have died due to the time it took an ambulance to reach him.

Ms Keane said that Connemara people were being discriminated against and that it was their right as EU citizens to have the same ambulance cover as anyone living elsewhere.

“As taxpayers we feel we are being discriminated against. Under Article 25 of the UN Human Rights Declaration we believe we are most definitely being discriminated against. We feel we are not being heard and have no option but to organize this protest in Galway to raise awareness of the situation,” she said.

Ms Keane said that the group were now reaching out to similar groups around the country to step up the campaign to make it a nationwide one.

Meanwhile, ambulance staff at the Galway city base in Merlin Park say they cannot face another winter in temporary steel containers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.