SIPTU members in the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) will ballot for industrial action in response to an attempt to remove their ambulance service call and dispatch function and place it under the control of the HSE. The decision to commence a ballot of members immediately was taken at an emergency meeting of the DFB SIPTU Section Committee this afternoon (Tuesday, 3rd March). SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “The decision announced last night by Dublin City Chief Executive, Owen Keegan, to hand over the DFB ambulance service call and dispatch function to the HSE is not one of the recommendations made in the recent HIQA report on ambulance services in Ireland. “Our members consider this unilateral action as a breach of the Haddington Road Agreement, as there was no consultation or discussion with stakeholders prior to the decision being made. The ambulance service delivered by DFB is second to none. It is economical and effective. The DFB responds to 80% of life threatening emergency calls within the HIQA recommended response time of under eight minutes.” SIPTU DFB Convener, Gerry Harris, said: “The Minister for Health, Leo Vardakar, has stated to SIPTU on two occasions in the last number of weeks that he would wait for the publication of two further reports before making an informed decision on the future delivery of ambulance services. Despite the Minister’s assurances and prior to the publication of these pending reports, the Dublin City Chief Executive along with an official in the HSE have decided to implement the removal of the DFB ambulance call and dispatch function without prior consultation with all stakeholders.” He added: “We believe that what is happening to the DFB call and dispatch function is the continuation of Dublin City management’s agenda to remove our ability to provide an ambulance service to residents. Our members believe that if this agenda is realised it will destroy a world-class public service that has been provided by DFB for over a century. “On foot of Dublin City management’s refusal to abide by local and national agreements, SIPTU members in the DFB have been left with no option but to ballot for industrial action.”