An order of nuns has been urged to "do the right thing" and pay a "fair" redundancy package to more than 180 nursing home workers.
Staff at the Caritas Convalescent Centre, St Mary's Centre Telford and St Monica's Nursing Home in Dublin have protested after being told the homes were closing down.
The Sisters of Charity are shareholders and landlords of the services and sit on the boards of management, while the HSE funds the vast portion of staff costs. Liquidators KPMG told staff they will be paid statutory redundancy terms. But Labour Court chairman Kevin Foley has recommended that the workers' exit package should mirror public service workers' terms and said the nuns and HSE should engage with unions.
Liz Meade, a healthcare assistant at St Monica's Nursing Home in Dublin's inner city where a protest took place yesterday, said losing her job was particularly hard after battling Covid-19. Two residents at the nursing home she has worked at for over 23 years died from the virus and two staff members tested positive.
"Most of the residents will be moved to different nursing homes around Dublin when they leave," she said. "In some cases, their things were packed into black bags before they left.
"One of the hardest things I've endured was coming back one day and five or six patients were gone that I had looked after for up to 10 years, and I never got to say goodbye to them before they left."
She said she was very humbled to have been put in such a trustworthy position to look after people in end-of-life care.
Brian Condra of Siptu said the public service package is three weeks' pay per year of service on top of statutory payments. He said the nuns had substantial assets to fund this.
Under banners with the slogan #payupsisters, Siptu, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and Fórsa are planning further protests.
The Religious Sisters of Charity said last night it was "aware of the decision to place St Monica's Nursing Home Company into liquidation".
They said they understood that the board has been planning for this and were conscious of the difficulties that this closure will have for the staff, the residents and their families.
"The order established St Monica's Nursing Home DAC in 2002 to ensure that it would be run and managed independently by a skilled and experienced board of directors. The order understands that the company and liquidator are managing the wind down of the company and the careful transfers of residents."
A KPMG spokesperson declined to comment.