Nurses an­gry at Dono­hoe over pay com­ments

Irish Examiner - - News - Fi­achra Ó Cion­naith

Fi­nance Minister Paschal Dono­hoe has sparked fresh anger among nurses af­ter re­ject­ing de­mands to in­crease their salaries, claim­ing that any raise will have “huge and en­tirely neg­a­tive con­se­quences” and is “not af­ford­able”.

Mr Dono­hoe in­sists that “a de­mand like that can­not be met” de­spite pres­sure from the Ir­ish Nurses and Mid wives Or­gan­i­sa­tion (INMO) to in­crease in­come lev­els for mem­bers across the coun­try.

Speak­ing on the Tonight Show on Vir­gin Me­dia One, Mr Dono­hoe said he has the “height of re­spect” for the work of nurses in hospi­tals na­tion­wide.

How­ever, Mr Dono­hoe said the Gov­ern­ment will not al­low any in­creases in pay lev­els for nurses as it would risk lim­it­ing the money avail­able for the health ser­vice and other pub­lic sec­tor work­ers pay.

“That’s not a de­mand I’m go­ing to be able to meet,” he said.

“I have the height of re­spect for the work our nurses do and for the huge con­tri­bu­tions they make in our wards ev­ery hour and ev­ery day. But I also have a huge amount of re­spect for the work other pub­lic ser­vants do. If a de­mand like that was to be con­ceded, it would have huge and en­tirely neg­a­tive con­se­quences for the cur­rent wage agree­ment that we have, and wouldn’t be af­ford­able.”

In a state­ment to the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner, the INMO hit out at Mr Dono­hoe’s po­si­tion, say­ing he has been “un­will­ing” to meet with them on the is­sue on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions this year.

“Nurses and mid­wives are the low­est-paid grad­u­ate pro­fes­sion within the Ir­ish health­care sys­tem and also work the long­est hours,” said a spokesper­son.

“Since Minister Dono­hoe ap­peared on the Tonight Show we have re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of com­ments from our mem­bers who felt his com­ments were pa­tro­n­is­ing to­wards them as a ma­jor­ity fe­male work­force and had lit­tle re­gard for re­quests made on their be­half.”

“Nurses and mid­wives are ex­tremely ex­er­cised about the very dan­ger­ous work­ing con­di­tions for them­selves and their pa­tients due to a re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion cri­sis. We would again ap­peal to the minister to meet di­rectly with us to ex­plore re­al­is­tic pro­pos­als to re­solve this on­go­ing and wors­en­ing cri­sis re­gard­ing re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion for nurs­ing and mid­wifery.”

The com­ments came as the Oireach­tas bud­get of­fice di­rec­tor, An­nette Con­nolly, raised con­cerns over run­away de­part­men­tal spend­ing, not­ing €1bn worth of sup­ple­men­tary bud­gets oc­curred this year.

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