Ambulance personnel on picket duty this morning outside the Ballyshannon Ambulance Cotrol Centre, pictured l-r, Ronan O'Keeney, Donegal Town and Brian McMenamin, Stranorlar.
Up to 40% of ambulance personnel in Donegal are involved in a ten-hour national strike today as a result of a dispute with the HSE over union recognition.
Pickets are being mounted in Killybegs, Dungloe, Donegal Town, Ballyshannon, Letterkenny, Carndonagh.
Nationally up to 500 members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association are on strike.
The strike began this morning at 7am and is due to end at 5pm. It is being staged in protest at the HSE’s refusal to recognise Nasra, the PNA ambulance personnel branch, as a representative body for members of the National Ambulance Service.
"We are looking for our fundamental right to join a union of our choice, that union being Nasra, a branch of PNA, the right of representation and the right of consultation," Tina Martin, Assistant National Secretary of Nasra, a branch of the PNA, told the Democrat.
She added: "This dispute has been ongoing since October, at all stages we have asked the HSE to come and talk to us, we are willing to talk and to this date this has not happened. We remain willing to talk."
Asked would the fact that some ambulance crew members are on strike today in Donegal have an impact on the emergency service provided to the public, she said: "We have a substantive contingency plan in place today, which we put together ourselves, without any consultation from HSE. We have provided this plan. Our main priority is the safety of the public. We are still responding to emergency calls. The fact we have such a substantive plan in place means that the risk is no different than on any other day."
She said the reaction received on the picket lines this morning was "very positive," adding: "People are blowing their horns in support, they are coming out to talk to us, we are getting good public support."