Thursday, 7 February 2019
Nurses and Midwives Industrial Action: Statements
In my introduction, I outlined the possibility provided by the nurses' union that up to €600 million per year could be saved if the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform implemented the safe ratio that has been outlined by the INMO. Will the Minister comment on that and give us an indication as to whether that is possible? The Minister says he will not talk about pay but he has shifted because in the weeks leading up to the dispute, he would only send the HSE to the WRC to talk to the unions. He is now saying that he will talk to them. When we shout outside on the picket lines, we say "open your purses and pay the nurses." The Minister has the purse, which is full. He can find money for military spending, to bail out bankers, pay off bond holders and do many other things, including the Government's bid to win a seat at the UN Security Council on which €500,000 has been spent. I ask him to open the purse and think creatively about how he can pay the nurses and make the savings when he employs the staff who are required.