Failure of Department of Health to pay Covid bonus is beyond insulting

22 July 2022

Labour health and disability spokesperson Duncan Smith has today (Friday, 22nd July) said that the Department of Health must emerge from the shadows, take responsibility and pay tens of thousands of frontline health workers still waiting on a pandemic recognition payment.

Deputy Smith said:

“The fact that the Department of Health has not paid the pandemic recognition payment to a single Section 39 worker, contract cleaner, caterer, member of security staff, workers in private nursing homes or even public health workers not employed by the HSE, like Dublin Fire Brigade paramedics is beyond insulting. I have been dealing with Public Health Nurses all over the country who are still awaiting payment also.”

“The HSE has made it clear to unions from day one that the circular that gives effect to the decision to pay non-HSE staff lies squarely with the Department of Health and the Minister. The longer they shirk their responsibilities, the longer these workers will be left high and dry during the worst cost of living crisis in our lifetime. These workers made enormous personal sacrifices. They risked their health to keep us safe. They truly went above and beyond the call of duty and this needs to be recognised.”

β€œIt is beyond time for the Department of Health who are responsible for paying the tens of thousands of Section 39 workers, cleaners, caterers, security staff, workers in private nursing homes or Dublin Fire Brigade, to emerge from the shadows, take responsibility and settling this long standing commitment to recognise their contribution. Only 93,000 of the 154,000 existing workforce have been paid so far. After 4 months of stalling there is a very long way to go make this right.”

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