Firefighters held protests outside a number of fire stations in Dublin today over management plans to break up the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) Emergency Medical Service by removing its ambulance call centre.

SIPTU DFB firefighters voted by 93% to 7% in favour of strike action and 97% to 3% in favour of industrial action in a ballot counted on 17 February.

SIPTU is expected to announce its next steps in the coming days in its "campaign to retain the DFB Emergency Medical Service as a fully functioning operation".

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O'Brien, said: "The protests highlighted the very strong opposition there is to an attempt by senior management in Dublin City Council to break up the DFB Emergency Medical Service by removing its ambulance call and dispatch function.

"Removal of this function breaks a key link in the DFB Emergency Medical Service chain, which would result in a reduction in the effectiveness of the service, response time delays and expose the public to increased risk," said Mr O'Brien.

Dublin City Councillor and Member of the Fire Services special policy committee Noeleen Reilly is calling on Dublin City Council management to reengage with the Dublin Fire Brigade.

Speaking after the protest in Finglas Fire Station she said: "Residents in Dublin are very concerned that Dublin City Council is planning on dismantling the Dublin Fire Brigade by moving their emergency call centre out to Tallaght.

"This will put people in need of emergency services at risk as it will lead to greater response times," said Ms Reilly.