As Irish nurses go back abroad, pay inequality must end

Alan Kelly TD
02 January 2019

As many Irish nurses who returned home for the Christmas season return to England, Dubai and Australia, Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly said pay equality must be high on the Government’s agenda in 2019.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Over the last few weeks, I met many young nurses and their parents who were home for Christmas. Many of those that I spoke to want to return to Ireland in the coming year but don’t plan to until the issues around new-entrants’ pay is sorted.

“We all know the level of stress nurses in Irish hospitals are under at the moment due to the complete lack of staff on all wards in the majority of hospitals.

“Ending the two-tier pay system in our hospitals especially would go a long way to enticing more nursing graduates and young nurses into Irish hospitals. This in turn would ease the pressure on our wards. We know from the INMO that levels of burnout and stress among staff are on the rise due to staffing pressures in many of our hospitals.

“When we consider the conditions in which many nurses work, the situation in many maternity wards, accident and emergency departments, particularly at weekends, and psychiatric wards, the future of many different services, the uncertainty surrounding certain services and what is expected of nurses, graduate nurses know that they can get better conditions elsewhere.

“With Brexit on the horizon, inching closer and closer, there is a real opportunity to encourage those who have left to practice in England to come home and encourage other EU nurses to come here. Ireland won’t be seen as an attractive option unless we end pay inequality in our hospitals.

“Labour’s position on this is clear -the emergency is over. The time for pay equality has arrived.

“Next year we should not be saying slán tamaill to our Irish nurses as they head back abroad for better pay and conditions, we should be in a position to restore pay and give them a reason to stay at home.”

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