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Huge support for strike action by psychiatric nurses ‘puts ball in Government’s court’ – Buckley

17 December, 2018 - by Pat Buckley TD

Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has said that the overwhelming support among members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association for industrial action is a clear message to the government that they must stop their threats and listen to nurses.

His comments were in response to news that the PNA had today announced there was 95% support among members for industrial action in demand for solution to staff shortages and problems with recruitment and retention.

Deputy Buckley said:

“This should be a surprise to no one with an interest in our health services. For years, nurses and particularly nurses in the mental health services have the last defence again outright chaos in the system. They are in underpaid, under-supported, and have been shown little to no respect by this Government. Only recently, the Minister for Finance threatened nurses that he would withhold earned pay increases if they chose to strike.

“The reality is that this decision to plan for industrial action is a last resort by professionals who want solutions to the problems, which not only make their jobs and lives more difficult, but are hurting patients and their families. In short, they are fighting for a better service for all of us.

“The decision by the PNA today and any strike action which follows is firmly the responsibility of a government more interested in posturing than working with professionals to find solutions. Nurses and midwives have been demanding action on recruitment and retention for years, but it has fallen on deaf ears in government buildings. Irish nurses are being taken for granted by the Minister of Health.

“The Oireachtas passed a resolution in April of this year supporting nurses and midwives. It clearly called on the government to introduce recruitment and retention measures based on realistic proposals which must prioritise pay. Nothing has been done to seriously address this and the response of nurses is proof of that.

“This situation is the fault of this government and its predecessors and not the nurses who have been left with no choice. I am calling on the public to support the nurses in whatever way they can and to help them in their demand for a better health service which treats them as essential skilled workers with dignity and value.” 

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