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Louise O’Reilly TD demands Minister Harris reach agreement with nurses and midwives to end strike

7 February, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD called on the Minister for Health and the government meet with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) and reach an agreement to end the ongoing strike.

Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“I was very proud to stand on the picket line with nurses and midwives every day they have been on strike so far.

“I stood on the picket lines with nurses and midwives in Beaumont this morning, and they gave me a message for the Minister for Health - safe staffing - that’s what they are on the picket line for.

“The Minister has seen the pictures of nurses in Abu Dhabi and Australia and they have all said the same thing- give us a reason to come home - they are appealing directly to this government to give them a reason to come back home.

“This government needs to address the staffing issue, they have to stop throwing money at agency staffing in order to compensate for the recruitment and retention crisis and instead pay nurses and midwives properly.

“Minister Harris and Minister Donohoe needs to sit down with the INMO and the PNA and work to resolve the dispute within the confines of the Public Service Pay Agreement.

“It can be done, everyone except the government see that it can be done.

“The Minister needs stop issuing press releases that do nothing but get the backs up of the men and women on the picket lines – the line the Minster has taken is highly insulting to nurses and midwives and he knows it.

“This government need to send a signal today that they are up for resolving this dispute.

“They need to send a signal to the nurses and midwives who are watching the Dáil debates, who are listing on the picket lines, they need to indicate a willingness to reach an agreement.

“The Minister and his colleagues concern for safe staffing and patient safety in the context of nurses being on strike rings hollow when they don’t care about safe staffing or patient safety any other day of the year and their policies contribute to unsafe overcrowding, surgery cancellations, and waiting lists every other day.

“Nurses and midwives are workers engaged in a serious industrial relations dispute, they do not need platitudes from the Minister or anyone else, what they need is an agreement that addresses the issue of safe staffing, that pays them what they deserve, and that ends this strike."

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