Thursday, 7 February 2019
Nurses and Midwives Industrial Action: Statements
Richard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
The Ministers should stop the propaganda and the dishonest spin and tell the truth about the nurses. That is the message I received from the nurses outside today and those on the picket lines every day. They are sick of hearing the Ministers say they are on salaries of €57,000 and that there is no retention or recruitment problem. It is nonsense. There are unsafe levels of staffing in hospitals. A psychiatric nurse who is married to a midwife was at our public meeting last night. He is at the top of the scale and earning €47,000. He had worked through the night and then gone home, having been up for 36 hours, because his wife had to go to work, while he minded the children and took them to school. He must take his annual holidays to mind the kids, such are his hours, including overtime, and those of his wife and they have nothing. The Government should, therefore, stop the spin and admit the truth. We have a problem. The country is haemorrhaging young nurses because they do not want to work in unsafe hospitals or take responsibility for doing so and they are being paid an absolute pittance. That is the reality. Therefore, the Government should admit the truth and talk to them. Phil Ní Sheaghdha and Peter Hughes are in the Visitors Gallery. Why do the Ministers not toddle up after this debate and talk to them and actually listen to the reasons they are on strike? If they will not listen, I hope on Saturday the public will come out in their tens of thousands to fight, not just for the nurses but also for the future of the public health service in order to make the Ministers listen. Eventually they will have to do so.