‘Still no pay for student nurses’: Cork TD hits out at Government decisions on

‘Still no pay for student nurses’: Cork TD hits out at Government decisions on

“Pay increases for judges, pension cuts reversed for ex-taoisigh, and 4,000 top civil servants,” Mick Barry said. “Still no pay for student nurses and midwives." 

Solidarity TD Mick Barry has criticised the Government’s decision to reverse pension cuts for top civil servants in light of the recent vote against paying student nurses and midwives.

The decision will see thousands of retired public servants, including former taoisigh, relieved of the pension levy introduced in 2009. Cabinet also cleared the way for pay increases for opposition party whips and the judiciary.

In the Dáil today, Mr Barry questioned the decisions. 

Solidarity TD Mick Barry has criticised the Government’s decision to reverse pension cuts for top civil servants in light of the recent vote against paying student nurses and midwives.
Solidarity TD Mick Barry has criticised the Government’s decision to reverse pension cuts for top civil servants in light of the recent vote against paying student nurses and midwives.

“Pay increases for judges, pension cuts reversed for ex-taoisigh, and 4,000 top civil servants,” he said. “Still no pay for student nurses and midwives.

“The Taoiseach spoke firmly earlier on, but the point is, student nurses are working in our hospitals. They’ll tell you that themselves.”

Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said the Government received “strong” legal advice that pay restoration for judges had to take place. 

“Despite what we might like to do, the truth is that, based on the legal advice that we have received, these restorations must take place,” he said.

Mr Barry told The Echo the decision “really shows how there is one rule for the rich and one rule for the rest”.

“The judges get a pay increase, the top civil servants get pension cuts reversed, but still, the Government refused to move on the issue of pay of student nurses and midwives, but it’s clear that the pressure is building on them on the issue,” he said.

“Student nurses and midwives are telling me and telling my Solidarity-People Before Profit colleagues that when they are in the hospitals, officially training, they are being asked to do real work and that this is more so the case since Covid knocked on the door.”

Students should not treat Covid patients 

Today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said first-year student nurses should not be treating a Covid patient, describing such a scenario as “an abuse”.

“No hospital and no director of nursing should be enabling that to be the case,” he said.

Mr Martin denied allegations his Government had refused to pay student nurses. He said nurses rostered for a 10- or 13-hour shift should be paid. “Nursing directors in hospitals are disputing that and the minister for health is investigating that,” Mr Martin added.

“There is a core question here.

“In my view, nurse education is vital for the progression and advancement of the profession so that nurses can take their rightful place in the overall framework within our hospitals.”

Mr Martin said that the Government is “not refusing to pay anybody”, stating that a review on allowances, which is due to be completed by the end of December, will result in higher allowances for student nurses.

“We have applied the pandemic unemployment payment to student nurses who cannot work part-time in other workplaces because of the fear of cross-contamination,” he added.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that he was left “flabbergasted” after the Taoiseach told students to lodge complaints with the HSE.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that he was left “flabbergasted” after the Taoiseach told students to lodge complaints with the HSE.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that he was left “flabbergasted” after the Taoiseach told students to lodge complaints with the HSE.

“I was flabbergasted at leaders’ questions today with the bizarre and desperate attempt by the Taoiseach to spin his way out of uncomfortable truths about the systemic exploitation of student nurses and midwives and his government’s shocking refusal to pay them for the work they do on frontlines,” said Mr Boyd Barrett.

“The continuing mantra from the Taoiseach that the students are not doing ‘real work’ is an outrageous insult to these young people, overwhelmingly women, who are at the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 on a daily basis.”

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