Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford, Mary Butler has said that the Government must start listening to what nurses are telling them if they are to avoid further strikes.
Deputy Butler was commenting as almost 40,000 members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), including hundreds at University Hospital Waterford, and in community and public health clinics, engaged in a twenty-four hour work stoppage on Wednesday.
"At 8am on Wednesday, January 30, nurses began what was their second protest in the past 100 years. The fact that they’ve decided to take this action shows just how frustrated they feel," Deputy Butler said.
“The Government has repeatedly ignored nurses as they warned of the major problems with staff recruitment and retention and today is the result of that refusal to engage."
“Fianna Fáil put forward a private members motion in the Dáil two weeks ago encouraging the Health Minister to enter proper discussions with the INMO. Unfortunately, subsequent talks broke down as the INMO felt there were no genuine proposals being put forward to avert a strike."
“I’ve been talking to nurses around the county and they are at their wit's end. None of them want to be on the picket line today, they are deeply dedicated to their patients, but they feel they’ve been left with no other option."
"They are trying to provide professional care without the necessary support. The nursing profession has changed radically over recent years yet nurses and midwives are still the lowest paid - core salary - graduate professionals in the health service," she said.
“The Government has left it too late to avoid today’s strike but it could still prevent the further five days of threatened action if it wants to. The Government needs to start listening to what the INMO are telling them and engage meaningfully with the nurses,” concluded Butler.
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