MÍCHEÁL MARTIN HAS SOME NECK. I tackled him today about the abuse of student nurses – 13 hour shifts, emptying bed pans, bathing and caring for people who can’t care for themselves – hard work! “SHOULD N’T HAPPEN” he says, all shocked and angry. Too right it shouldn’t! But it does. AND ON HIS WATCH. What bloody snakes we have in government; pretend outrage, blame someone else, and suggest the claims are unfounded. That the best you can do Taoiseach?

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It’s not a coincidence that the profession that has to fight consistently for fair pay and respect is a profession overwhelmingly made up of women. Nursing is one of the most important professions, and yet, they have rotten conditions, and pay. Student nurses are particularly exploited, receiving a pitiful 50euro a week for their placements, despite their intense work on the frontlines. They have contracted Covid in large numbers, due to the high-risk nature of the work. And they still are expected to do it for free. This has to end now.

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Praise is good but PROPER PAY AND PPE are better. On INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY the least FF/FG could do is pay them the full amount agreed from the strike. Many hospitals haven’t done that yet. And despite solemn assurances from Harris and Holohan, PPE is still an issue for many nurses and carers. People Before Profit were proud to stand in solidarity with nurses today outside James’s, Cherry Orchard, and Crumliln hospitals.

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Solidarity / PBP put a motion to the Dail today regarding the nurses dispute and other health care professionals. Whatever the outcome, and the decision is theirs alone, this Dáil should understand that the issues that drove the nurses to take action will not be resolved by the offer. Understaffing means an unsafe health service. Nurse ratio to patients should ideally be 1:4. As things stand it’s more like1:8 and sometimes as bad as 1:11. The measly offer will not solve that. But whatever happens, our nurses and midwives will continue to be held in the highest regard by all – all that is except this shameful government. I spoke to the motion in Dáil.

 

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How dare Varadkar try to bully the nurses over Brexit, as though the mess were their fault. And how dare the spin machine make out nurses are greedy. A staff nurse starts at €29k and it takes 15 years before getting to €45k. Some, but not all, of the points I made to the Taoiseach this afternoon. I call on all who can to get down to the picket nearest them tomorrow and stand with the nurses.

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