I thank the Minister of State. At this stage, she is probably fed up listening to me talk about the few issues I constantly raise. I am always bringing the Minister of State back because I firmly believe that there is no follow-up. When a Minister comes to the Chamber and we receive the answer, there is no follow-up from the health boards or the Department of Health. That is a major issue for me.
This matter relates to the paramedics and the prefabs where they are based in Carlow. Following the health and safety audit that was carried out on the prefabs in which the Carlow paramedics and ambulance service are located, the prefabs were condemned and deemed unfit for purpose. In light of this, I ask the Minister of State to give me an update on the situation. As she will appreciate, the ambulance and paramedic staff constitute a vital asset to Carlow and the south east. They provide assistance and support to local communities, especially at times of illness or tragedy. Carlow ambulance service has 18 staff, four women and 14 men, who are based in two prefabs. A small bit of work has been done. When I first spoke to the Minister of State, the prefabs had been deemed unfit. There were sewerage problems and only one shower for the 18 staff. Although they are not all on duty at the same time, they need at least two or three showers in these locations. The other issue I addressed is the fact that the stores are in a totally different building that is located away from the prefabs. On winter evenings, this puts these paramedics and other staff in a very vulnerable position. A few months ago, another health and safety audit was carried out and, again, the accommodation was deemed unfit for purpose.
There is regular, ongoing health and safety training for paramedics and they do an excellent job. I compliment the 18 paramedics and ambulance staff in Carlow on their work. While some work has been done, it is unsuitable. There is a massive hospital called St. Dympna's Hospital which has some empty rooms. On the previous occasion, the Minister of State said she was considering putting in another prefab. Would she consider putting them in the building? How much work has been done? We are dealing with taxpayers' money here. These paramedics are great people and they come across so many vulnerable and very sick people. What is the update? Hopefully the Minister of State will have some good news for me. I thank her for coming back in again.