Paramedics in the National Ambulance Service are at breaking point, according to SIPTU sector organiser Ted Kenny from Castleisland.
He says SIPTU representatives have raised concerns about the challenges facing members due to a surge in demand.
Mr Kenny says the increased numbers of people attending emergency departments has severely impacted turn-around times, with ambulance crews waiting hours to hand over their patients.
He says this lengthens their 12-hour shifts, and this, along with requests to work additional hours, is leading to burnout among paramedics.
Ted Kenny says the hiring of Health Care Support Assistants, or home helps as they were formerly called, needs to be fast-tracked.
He says there are people eligible to receive support but are waiting months to get it, while there are qualified people on a panel in Kerry waiting up to eight months to be appointed.