Newry, Mourne and Down Councillor Barra Ó Muiri has said that the issue of Ambulance capacity in the Newry, Armagh and Mourne region had not just appeared at the weekend and it would only by solved by urgent action and proper investment.

Councillor Ó Muiri who was speaking about the issue at last night's meeting of Newry Mourne & Down Council said, “The lack of ambulance cover In the Newry, South Down & South Armagh region has been a long running issue of concern. There is no doubt that a huge effort is made every day by ambulance staff to deliver vital front-line and often emergency care to the public in what are very challenging situations.

"However  has been happening in our Ambulance service and the entire Health Service is that the Tory Government through their years of austerity have starved our Executive and vital services such as Health  of funding and resources,

"The pressure we witness on the likes of our health, housing and education services on a regular basis is a damming indictment of that Tory austerity and inaction”.

The Slieve Gullion Councillor appealed for a strong unified lobby for a well resources ambulance service“The people deserve an operational, properly funded and well-resourced ambulance service that is fit for purpose. They are clearly not getting that.

"Communities across this region should not have to experience long and dangerous delays waiting for ambulances. The paramedics and frontline personnel want to ensure quality of care and patient safety and this cannot happen without adequate resourcing being given”.

The Councillor concluded “Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady along with other Sinn Féin representatives  will be meeting with the Ambulance Service senior management to discuss the issue.

"Sinn Féin will fight within the confines of the Executive and with the British government to secure the necessary financial support for our Health service. Just last week Finance Minister and local MLA Conor Murphy committed an additional £90 million to the Health Service. This along with his previous earlier commitments is very welcome, but we know more must be done”.

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