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Any move to punish ambulance whistleblower 'won't be tolerated'

Shirley McEntee, the ambulance controller who featured in last week’s Prime Time investigation, said she expected a backlash from her employer.

Image: RTÉ screengrab

FOLLOWING CONCERNS EXPRESSED by the whistleblower featured in last week’s Prime Time documentary on the ambulance service that she expected to be punished for her comments, SIPTU has said she will be supported by the trade union.

Shirley McEntee, an ambulance controller in the Mid West region, raised concerns about ongoing and repeated failures in the system. She said those working in the service often found themselves scrambling for resources.

Speaking to Live 95 FM in Limerick after the broadcast of the programme, McEntee said she expected to face disciplinary action from her employer — once she returns from sick leave this week.

SIPTU’s health division organiser Paul Bell said the union would “not tolerate the punishment or disciplinary sanctioning of whistleblowers in the Health Service”.

And while he said he couldn’t comment on individual cases, “we will defend and support members who become the subject of disciplinary proceedings in such circumstances”.

The Prime Time Investigates programme must be commended for bringing knowledge of the crisis in the Ambulance Service to the attention of the public.

McEntee said she felt compelled to go public with her concerns because it was about time “someone stuck up for” paramedics.

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Though she said: “I’m not going to get away with this free at all”.

Related: Missed the Prime Time investigation into ambulance delays? Here’s what we learned….

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Daragh Brophy

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