Thursday, 7 February 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Maire Devine (Sinn Fein)
Nurses and midwives will be joined in industrial action next week by psychiatric nurses, which will bring the total to 50,000 nurses. Some 500 paramedics from the ambulance service are also coming out next week so it is looking like a spring of discontent. The psychiatric nurses are members of my union and the issues are pay, terms and conditions and the mental health budget. Last year, the entire mental health budget was spent on agencies so there was nothing left of the much-trumpeted increase. Can the Leader confirm when the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, will come to this House to answer to Members? As Senator Gavan stated, the window between now and next week is fairly small but hopefully the Minister will accept the invitation to sit down for talks without the insulting preconditions he has been offering up to this point. We do not know how this is going to unfold but hopefully the parties will sit down together respectfully.