Speaking in the Dáil during leaders’ questions, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD again raised the government’s refusal to pay student nurses and midwives deliver in our hospitals and called on him to recognise, value and pay them for their work.
Teachta McDonald said:
“I have repeatedly raised with the Taoiseach his refusal to pay student nurses and midwives.
This decision has been met with understandable anger, not just from the students themselves but also from the public.
“Last Thursday, I met online with student nurses and midwives from all over the country.
“They shared with me their experiences and recounted the very real work they do in our hospitals. Their kindness, professionalism and dedication to nursing is in sharp contrast to the shoddy way they are being treated by the Taoiseach’s Government.
“The students are angry at the Taoiseach’s suggestion that their nursing colleagues are exploiting them. They are livid, in fact, that the Taoiseach deflects from his refusal to pay them by blaming other nurses.
“Nurses in hospitals are facing overcrowding, a lack of staff and stressful conditions, and this is the result of decades of bad Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael policy.
“Student nurses walk onto those same wards. They say that the only abuse and exploitation is the Government’s persistent refusal to pay them. Other nurses are not to blame, so I ask the Taoiseach to drop that nonsense.
“This is about the values of his Government. Its treatment of student nurses and midwives demonstrates again that the Taoiseach’s chaotic Government is completely out of touch. The appalling lack of fairness is there for all to see.
“For student nurses and midwives, it is tea and sympathy, a round of applause and Government sends them back onto the wards with their pockets empty.
“Student nurses and midwives show up every day for all of us and it is now time for the Government to show up for them.
“Will the Taoiseach finally do the right thing? Will he tell them that they will be paid? Make no mistake; this is what the entire country expects him to do.”