I propose to take Questions Nos. 103 and 167 together.
The Deputies' questions relate to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004.
I am advised by the HSE that its western area emergency ambulance service provides a service to a population of over 350,000 people from ten stations spread throughout the catchment area. There has been significant expansion of the service in recent years. For example, ten additional crews have been put in place; the number of 24-hour bases has increased from three to five, while the overall hours of operation across all bases have increased significantly.
In 2004 the HSE, western area, purchased six new high specification ambulances. In addition, two new rapid response vehicles were introduced as back up to the new fleet. Facilities have also been improved at ambulance stations in Ballina, Boyle, Clifden and Roscommon.
The HSE, western area, has proposals for the establishment of additional stations in Tuam, west Roscommon and in the Achill-Mulranny area. The question of progressing these proposals is a matter to be addressed by the Health Service Executive in the context of the capital investment framework 2005-09.