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Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 20 October 2020

"He was using his shoe as a phone": Friday night on patrol with a Dublin ambulance crew

Most of the call-outs were related to drink and drugs.

A TOURIST BEATEN unconscious in Temple Bar and a young woman lying on a side street in fancy dress after drinking up to 15 shots – these were just some of the incidents that the Dublin Fire Brigade ambulance service dealt with on Friday night.

Most of the call-outs were related to drink and drugs and the night reached its peak for the ambulance crew as the pubs and clubs cleared out and the streets filled up.

Reporter Brian O’Connell spent last Friday night with the service, and spoke to Today with Sean O’Rourke about the experience this morning.


He described how the first call was to respond to a young man who collapsed and was unconscious at the Central Bank area.

The man seemed to be very intoxicated and had very bad shakes in his hands.

One of the advanced paramedics of the ambulance crew described the situation:

He was using his shoe as a phone, he was licking an imaginary 99 ice-cream at one stage. Putting a drip in his arm was probably going to be futile because he would have just pulled it out. He was a nice agitated, he wasn’t violent or aggressive. He wasn’t trying to bite you, he wasn’t trying to damage the back of the ambulance. They can be violent, rather than lip-smacking they want to bite you and they’re extremely difficult to manage.

They suspected it was a combination of four different kind of drugs.  A nurse was tasked with having to sit by his bedside for a couple of hours until he came out of it.

O’Connell told O’Rourke:

I’ve never seen someone so out of it. He had no idea where he was or who he was.


As the night progressed a woman was found unconscious on a side street in the city. She began vomiting and the staff could smell Sambuca.

Ambulance staff later heard that there was a free shots promotion at the venue she had been in.

At about 2am O’Connell said the crew came across a mini riot near Leinster House.

You had groups of youths who had been chasing after each other, you had dozens of guards in tow. We could hear bottles being thrown, there was some injuries there.

Soon afterwards, the ambulance crew were called to respond to another incident when a young man saw a tourist being chased in Temple Bar by three youths.

The tourist had a number of bruises when the service reached him and he couldn’t remember a thing.

The witness at the scene said, “I just saw him being chased by three fellas and a girl … I was screaming at them that I’m an off-duty garda.

He was unconscious and they were hitting him and kicking him when he was on the ground.

One of the final calls was to a violent assault in Finglas. One person was seriously injured with a head wound and a stab wound.

Three men had been drinking in a house when an argument broke out between them, leading to a fight in the front garden. One man received a serious injury to his head with significant blood loss.

As the crew pulled up they were informed that the attacker could still be at the scene and possibly still armed.

As the night’s work came to an end, O’Connell observed that substance abuse was the common denominator across most of the calls during the night. 

One of the advanced paramedics responded:

Alcohol and drug use accounts and attributes to an awful lot of our workload.

Read: Man sustains facial injuries after youths smash Dublin Bus window with rock>

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