Sinn Féin TD John Brady has criticised the Government’s refusal to pay student nurses a fair wage.
Teachta Brady, who represents Wicklow, said:
“My daughter is a student nurse and I saw first-hand how hard and diligently she has worked throughout the pandemic when on placement.
“Despite the huge stress and pressure of working on the frontline at the heart of this unprecedented health crisis, thousands of student nurses stepped up to be key workers and to protect our communities by doing real work in hospital wards across the country.
“Like many other healthcare workers, my daughter contracted Covid-19. After becoming infected, others in our family home contracted it too, including her grandfather.
“He was seriously ill and ended up in ICU. It was our family’s worst nightmare and my daughter was distraught.
“She is very proud to be a student nurse and all our family is so proud of the work that she does.
“I know that our family was not alone in what we experienced during the pandemic. Many other healthcare workers, including student nurses, went into wards every day despite knowing the potential risks to themselves and their families because they wanted to play their part in serving the wider community.
“They were rightly praised by all politicians at the time but they need more than praise- they need to see proper action from the Government to ensure they get fair pay.
“They are exhausted and feel completely exploited. Many are anxious and fearful about paying their rent, mortgage or basic bills.
“But instead of support them, the Government offers a round of applause but no fair pay.
“This is a scandalous and exploitative way to treat essential workers who form the backbone of our healthcare system and who have worked so hard and with such bravery to protect us all.
“Rounds of applause and kind words don’t pay the rent or the bills. The Government has badly let our student nurses down and it is totally unacceptable.
“This week, I and my Sinn Féin colleagues voted to give a fair wage to student nurses. Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green TDs voted to refuse it.
“Sinn Féin will continue to stand up for our healthcare staff and their right to access fair pay. The Government must be held to account for this shameful decision.”