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Minister should intervene directly to resolve nurses’ dispute – Ó Caoláin

2 April, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called on the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney to intervene directly to help to resolve the nurses' dispute. He said the Minister had failed to ensure that the long-standing need for a 35-hour week for nurses was met by the health service employers.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "This work to rule by the Irish Nurses Organisation and the Psychiatric Nurses Association was long signalled in advance and has the support of 96% of INO & PNA members who were balloted for industrial action. The dispute has come about not because of a last-minute breakdown in talks in recent days but because the Government and the health service employers failed to address the long-standing need to reduce the working week of nurses to 35 hours.

"Minister Harney should intervene immediately to ensure that the dispute is resolved speedily through the granting of the shorter working week and the resolution of outstanding pay issues.

"Nurses and midwives are at the front line of our health services, delivering care to patients in very difficult circumstances because of the gross inadequacy of a health system that successive Governments have failed to reform. It is an indictment of that system that these front-line workers should have to resort to a work to rule." ENDS

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