Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Spain calls for support for nurses demands

3 March, 2007


Sinn Féin candidate for Dublin Mid West Joanne Spain said: Mary Harney has pushed the private health care system to the top of the agenda. And now she is refusing to bring nurses conditions into the 21st century. If this decision was put to the Irish people, I know and she knows, what they would say. And they'll be saying it to her in her constituency of Dublin Mid West this May when they give the nurses their vote of support and send Mary Harney packing."

She said:

A Chairde,
Last month 40,000 nurses balloted in favour of strike action throughout this state. These nurses are the frontline staff of the health service. They are the first to deal with patients on trolleys up and down the country. They deliver our babies, they dress our wounds, they administer our medication. They are doing an amazing job in circumstances that have been made progressively worse by successive governments and absolutely dire by our current health minister. These nurses are not making outrageous demands.

They want a 35-hour week, in line with other professions in the health service. They want a wage increase that would see them paid at a rate reflective of their skills - currently unqualified childcare workers are paid more than some nurses and midwives.

And they want a Dublin allowance so their staff can afford to work and live in what is considered one of the most expensive cities in the world.

They have been raising these concerns for 26 years. What person, who has ever been unfortunate enough to end up in one of our badly funded hospitals can say that our nurses do not deserve proper pay and conditions for the work they do?

Our Minister for Health Mary Harney has no sympathy for nurses. She recently reopened talks with over 2,000 highly paid hospital consultants who can earn upwards of €150,000 yearly, but has maintained her refusal to enter into negotiations with our poorly paid
nurses. She wants them to wait for a flawed benchmarking system to deal with their wages and working conditions.

How dare a woman, whose party recently polled at only 1% of the electorate, tell 40,000 nurses that she won't deal with their very reasonable demands?

Mary Harney specialises in making decisions in her department without a mandate. She is gifting public hospital land to private hospitals. She has pushed the private health care system to the top of the agenda. And now she is refusing to bring nurses conditions into the 21st century. If this decision was put to the Irish people, I know and
she knows, what they would say.


And they'll be saying it to her in her constituency of Dublin Mid West this May when they give the nurses their vote of support and send Mary Harney packing.

A chairde, let's send our own message of support to the INO and the PNA this weekend. Vote in favour of motion 80.

Connect with Sinn Féin