AUSTERITY measures are to blame for leaving a 14-year-old girl lying on the road awaiting an ambulance for more than an hour, the union representing HSE ambulance drivers claims.
Tony Gregg, national secretary for the National Ambulance Service Representative Association, said a ban on overtime and other austerity measures were what ultimately led to no ambulance being available to take an injured girl to hospital for more than an hour on Monday.
Shannon Cawley was struck by a car while cycling to Fortunestown Shopping Centre in Tallaght, Dublin, around 12:45pm.
While two units of the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) and two garda patrol cars responded, the DFB did not have an ambulance available. A request was made by the DFB for a HSE ambulance from the North Leinster Division of the National Ambulance Service to respond, but there was no ambulance available in the area, leaving Shannon to wait until after 2pm for one.
Mr Gregg said the lack of human resources, coupled with the closure of the Tallaght ambulance station from 7am to 7pm on Mondays, was what appeared to have led to the delay.
"It's a direct result of austerity," he told the Irish Independent.
The teenager's father, Martin Cawley, said the lack of ambulance cover was unacceptable. "She was lying there in the rain," he told the Irish Independent.
Fortunately, she had only minor injuries.
A spokesperson for the HSE last night denied it was responsible for providing an ambulance. "Dublin Fire Brigade handled this call and provided an emergency response. This is a matter for Dublin City Council."
A council spokesperson said: "As there was no ambulance immediately available from Dublin Fire Brigade or the HSE, Dublin Fire Brigade responded by sending two fire appliances with fully qualified paramedics on board. When an ambulance became available, it was immediately dispatched."