Tuesday, 5 February 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
We are two days in and there are seven days to go, but all the Taoiseach has to offer is robotic monologues. Nothing he has said has within it the seeds of resolving the dispute. What can resolve it, as we have said to the Taoiseach consistently, is positive respectful direct engagement. That means engagement with no threats or sabre rattling on pensions or pay, engagement with no preconditions, engagement not to carve up a special deal but such that nurses and their representative bodies will believe the dispute can be resolved within the strictures of the current public pay agreement.
I have said this to the Taoiseach several times in the Dáil. The nursing unions have said this to him publicly. I have no doubt that anyone with an ounce of wit would give the Taoiseach the same advice privately, yet he was unwilling, as Head of Government, to make the very necessary move. We are two days down and seven days of further action are planned. If this strike continues, the fault lies with the Taoiseach. The blame lies with his spectacular inertia and refusal to act.