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Mary Lou McDonald to Taoiseach: “Get off the side-lines and engage with nurses”

30 January, 2019 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

The Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has appealed to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to “get off the side-lines and engage with nurses”.

Addressing the Taoiseach during leaders’ questions in the Dáil McDonald said:

“On my way here this morning I stopped to stand with and speak to nurses and midwives on the picket lines at Temple Street, the Mater and the Rotunda. I was struck by what they had to say. Nobody I spoke to this morning wanted to be on strike. In fact, it was the very last thing they wanted to be doing and they were upset to be on the picket.

“They wanted to be inside caring for patients and going about their work - diligently and dutifully - as always. But they are fed up, Taoiseach. They feel absolutely failed and let down. They feel they have been backed into a corner and forced to engage in industrial action.

“The recruitment and retention crisis must be addressed. That means putting solutions on the table, but that has not been forthcoming. This is not an issue that has emerged in recent weeks. This has been a problem for years and you have completely failed to address the situation.

“Will you now accept that pay is an issue that needs to be addressed? Will you accept that your approach to tackling the recruitment and retention crisis thus far has failed? And, instead of dismissing the concerns of nurses and midwives, can I ask what you are now doing and will do - as head of government - to address nurses concerns? Will you now get off the side-lines and engage with the nurses?”

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