Dublin Fire Brigade representatives have warned that the threat of industrial action has increased following the news that the HSE is to take over the running of its ambulance service.

Dublin City Council Chief Executive Owen Keegan announced the HSE's National Ambulance Service (NAS) will now be responsible for all emergency calls in the Dublin region.

The NAS, which is based in Tallaght, currently shares callouts with Dublin Fire Brigade in Tara Street.

The system was criticised as having "inefficiencies" and "poor coordination" by a HIQA report published last December.

The report noted that Dublin Fire Brigade had a delayed response for 50% of emergency calls and asked the NAS for assistance in one third of all calls.

But city councillors at tonight's monthly meeting were critical of the HSE's track record.

Lord Mayor Christy Burke said the HSE had made a "dog's dinner of the ambulance service".

Dublin firefighters are already threatening industrial action over proposals to cut crewing levels by up to 33%.

SIPTU representative Brendan O'Brien said the threat of this action has now increased with news of the HSE ambulance takeover.

He said that firefighters are trained to work interchangeably in ambulance or fire tender duties.

"Anything that interferes with that interferes with our service to the public", he said.

A review of the ambulance service was ordered last year following a long running dispute between Dublin City Council and the HSE.

The HSE pays the city council €10 million a year for the fire brigade's 12 ambulances that cover the central Dublin area.

But the HSE, which covers Tallaght and Co Dublin, believes it could provide the service for less cost as fire brigade staff are paid more that their ambulance workers.

For its part, Dublin City Council, which runs the fire brigade on behalf of all four Dublin local authorities, claimed the HSE payment does not cover its costs.

This evening in a briefing statement to councillors, Mr Keegan said agreement had been reached between the Dublin local authorities and the HSE that the NAS would take over ambulance calls in the Dublin region.

He said this was in recognition of the urgent need identified by HIQA for greater cooperation to ensure a "seamless, responsive and safe" ambulance service and safe pre-hospital emergency care.