March 9, 2020
Caretaker government must not use public health emergency to sneak in anti-worker laws

Speaking this morning Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Deputy Louise O’Reilly, said that the caretaker government cannot be allowed to use a public health emergency to try sneak in anti-worker laws such as a strike ban.

O’Reilly called on the HSE and the caretaker minister for health to implement measures which we know will work in protecting the public health instead of pursuing ideological goals.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“We are facing a serious public health emergency and the measures enacted and planning must reflect that. The main thing we need to focus on is creating additional capacity within the public health system, especially in acute hospitals.

“For whatever reason the caretaker government have been extremely slow to do this. The delay in lifting the recruitment ban and a freeze on home help means that there are patients in hospitals who can’t go home.

“Having been contacted by staff in Cork, Galway, and Limerick hospitals over the weekend about preparedness on the ground it is clear that not enough is being done to create that capacity or keep front line health staff informed of developments.

“These are the issues the caretaker government and the HSE should be focusing on; instead we have Fine Gael using this crisis to pursue ideological goals to try sneak in anti-worker laws such as a strike ban with no end date.

“Health service workers are at front line of this crisis, and their unions must be listened to, they do not want conflict, but they need to know the government is on their side.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to dealing with a public health emergency of this scale – we waited weeks for the recruitment ban to be lifted, what we need now is more action.

“We need targeted home help to get patients out of hospital and free up beds, we need to step up procurement of Personnel Protective Equipment and medicines, we need to identify and kit-out alternative settings to deal with patients outside of hospital settings, and we need to listen to workers on the front line and pull together to tackle this virus.”

ENDS

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