Dáil debates

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Nurses and Midwives Industrial Action: Statements


10:20 am

Photo of Dessie EllisDessie Ellis (Dublin North West, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Ar dtús, ba mhaith liom tacaíocht a thabhairt do na haltraí ar fud na tíre agus i mo cheantar féin. Seasaim leo.

Nursing is a vocation. It takes a special person to work in the medical profession. Unless a person has walked in their shoes, he or she can never truly understand or appreciate the dedication, hard work and humanity of those who work in the nursing profession. Like me, I am sure most Deputies in this Chamber have reason to be grateful for the quality, strength, professionalism and compassion of our nurses. However, nurses and midwives in our hospitals do not feel valued or respected. They feel that they are being taken advantage of because they are caring for people. They feel that as long as they keep doing what they are doing without complaining, the more that will be asked of them. They should never be made to feel this way. They deserve consideration, respect and recognition for the job they do. It is a job that many of us could never do and they deserve proper remuneration for their incredible hard work and tireless dedication to their patients and to their profession.

It is so sad and shameful that each year we lose great talent to other countries. Across the world, hospitals in Australia, the USA, Europe and elsewhere are gaining at Ireland's expense. How could anyone blame graduate nurses for leaving our shores for foreign lands where they will receive proper wages for the work they do? Why should they struggle financially? Why should they work just to survive? Our nurses and midwives deserve better.

They deserve a living wage, not a struggling one. It is the least we can do for those we will turn to in our hour of need. This is their time of need. Let us not turn our backs on them. We and the Minister owe it to them.


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