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Thursday 24 August 2017

'There is an internal council agenda in DFB row', says Kelly

Alan Kelly says the call centres merger is ‘unwarranted’
Alan Kelly says the call centres merger is ‘unwarranted’

The unions that suspended a Dublin Fire Brigade strike warned they will not tolerate the emergency medical system being undermined by transfers or mergers.

Siptu and Impact vowed to defend Dublin's ambulance call and dispatch service as the city council was accused by former Environment Minister Alan Kelly of having "an agenda" over the centre.

The Tipperary TD claimed the merger of the two call centres was "unwarranted" and could jeopardise lives.

He also said he believed the changes were being driven by an internal council agenda.

"I did not believe in early 2016 the economies the city management said existed," he said. "This is an agenda of the Dublin city management. It is wrong and it needs to be stopped. The economies claimed do not exist."

Siptu and Impact are con- vinced that investment in suitable technology will allow for seamless working between the Dublin Fire Brigade call centre and the National Ambulance Service (NAS) complex.

The centres are located only 12km apart.

The unions agreed to suspend planned stoppages for March 18 and 27 after Lord Mayor Brendan Carr intervened in the dispute.

The 24-hour work stoppages were planned in protest at what the unions said were unwarranted changes to the Dublin Fire Brigade call centre. Brigade officials had feared the Dublin centre would lose all ambulance functions to the NAS facility.

Under the talks deal, no industrial action will be mounted by unions and Dublin City Council has agreed not to proceed with proposed changes to the Dublin Fire Brigade emergency medical service system.

Blatant

The brigade centre, at Tara Street in the city centre, covers around 90pc of the Dublin area and has a staff of 45 people.

Unions insisted it was one of the most efficient services of its kind.

However, the NAS centre, in Tallaght, covers the rest of Dublin city and the extensive county area.

Union members claimed it was a blatant attempt to break-up the long-standing Dublin Fire Brigade emergency medical service.

Now, both sides will stage conciliation talks under the chairmanship of Kieran Mulvey.

Siptu official Brendan O'Brien said members wanted the capital to continue to have an outstanding emergency medical response service.

"This dispute results from our members' total commitment to providing the best emergency services possible to the residents of Dublin," he said.

Mr O'Brien thanked the public for its support.

Mr Carr said he was "hopeful" that a compromise solution could be hammered out.

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