As someone who was a union official for 30 years, I would like to offer my best wishes and support to the nurses/midwives presently on strike.
We in the Prison Service walked the Dublin Road for four weeks in 1988. We won our strike for a number of reasons but there were two main reasons: 1) We had right on our side and 2) We hung together, because we knew if we didn’t we would hang separately.
I get the same sense of purpose with the nurses/midwives. There is a steely determination on their side. I hope they stay focused, determined and unified.
The ‘guilt’ complex will be the next thing we hear as certain politicians and faceless bureaucrats tell the workers how lucky they are to have a job.
Maybe if they exchanged a day in their ivory towers for a day in A&E, trying to maintain a shred of dignity for hard-pressed patients and staff, they might have a different view.
When we consider the handling of the new children’s hospital, it recalls the phrase from the Haughey era: grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented. It beggars belief this could happen in Ireland in 2019.
Expend your energies on sorting out the children’s hospital debacle and let the nurses/midwives get on with their jobs.
To the minister I say: Do the right thing. On this as on many other issues the people are leading our so-called leaders.
Portlaoise, Co Laois
No more hidden perks for those employed by the State
With regard to the settling of the nurses’ strike, I am glad for those who are ill, but sad for the nurses and others whose vocational nature is taken advantage of.
However, isn’t it time to level the playing field? Once upon a time we were glad to have a job, a good secure State job we would never be fired from. This is a different era and it’s time to rid the system of all those perks that go with being a public or semi-public servant.
It’s time to be able to compare job with job, skill with skill, hours worked with hours worked, etc, etc. We are a mature economy now, we have a global labour market and it’s time to rid all our systems of all “fudges”.
Pay everybody properly for the job they do but no hidden background perks in an attempt to fool the public or mask true reality. A job should be a job, wherever it is carried out, and those carrying out the work should be paid a market rate.
Time to say goodbye to smoke and mirrors! And that in particular applies to our public representatives at all levels. Honest, open remuneration for whatever job but stop trying to pull the wool over the eyes of those who “employ” you.
It’s well-worn transparency please and pay everybody in our society a just wage.
Prague 2, Czech Republic
Religion can bring happiness – if it is practised voluntarily
Patricia Casey reports (‘Religious practice offers a happy alternative to young’, Irish Independent, January 9) on worldwide studies which indicate higher levels of happiness in those who practise religion compared with those who do not.
But she omits one key factor – to achieve this outcome the practise of religion must be a voluntary activity. For instance, the recent riots in theocratic Pakistan over the acquittal of a young Christian woman for blasphemy would not indicate significant levels of happiness among the rioters.
Similarly in Ireland, it is not so long ago that Ireland was effectively a Catholic theocracy – in 1991 there was no freely available contraception, Magdalene Laundries were still open and there was no divorce. Eighty per cent of Catholics attended weekly Mass but there was no indication Irish people were significantly happier than, say, UK people in general, where a only small minority of people practised religion – but on a voluntary basis.
Unfortunately, we have not reached the stage where the practise of religion in Ireland is entirely voluntary.
Patients of reproductive age must accept Catholic medical ethics in their treatment – whether they agree with those ethics or not – if they are admitted to publicly funded Catholic hospitals, as must the doctors and nurses who work there.
Children whose parents do not want them to be exposed to Catholic dogma are obliged to sit at the back of the classroom when Catholic dogma is being taught.
Portmarnock, Co Dublin
Who can tell if a bee is being as busy as a bee can be?
There's a panic on due to a claim that Ireland is heading for big trouble because there’s a falling off in the insect population. Who’s doing the counting? A permanent job, no doubt, but do the insects know they’re not pulling their weight?
Bantry, Co Cork