Tuesday, 5 February 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
-----and she has no credibility given her own record of being a commentator and a bystander in Northern Ireland when she should be involved in forming a coalition government there.
To repeat what I said earlier, and I mean it sincerely, this dispute can be resolved. The Government wants it to be resolved. We understand the grievances that nurses and midwives feel about their pay and terms and conditions. We understand the enormous public support they have and will continue to have. The Government wants to resolve this dispute. We are willing to engage in talks in the Workplace Relations Commission. We are willing to accept an intervention by the Labour Court if it determines that is advisable. It can be resolved but it must be resolved within certain parameters which all sides should be able to accept. First, it has to be affordable for the Exchequer. We cannot fund pay increases with borrowed money, particularly given the uncertainty ahead. Second, it must be fair to all other public servants, the 300,000 public servants who work very hard, with whom we have a deal and who are not on strike. Any pay issues must be paid under the umbrella of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Public Service Stability Agreement.