Tuesday 19 March 2019

Nurses have no other option but to go on strike

Nurses picketing outside Gorey and District Hospital
Nurses picketing outside Gorey and District Hospital

Sara Gahan

The cold weather didn't deter more than 30 nurses and supporters picketing at Gorey District Hospital on Thursday as part of a nationwide protest due to pay and working conditions.

It was the third day for many nurses in County Wexford on the picket line, but the first for the nurses of Gorey District Hospital and, as of yet, there is no sign of a breakthrough in the escalating dispute.

Local INMO representative Helen Crehan of Gorey District Hospital said picketing outside was their last resort saying they had no other options left.

While many of the protesters walked up and down outside the hospital, trying their best to keep warm,it was business as usual for certain areas within the hospital.

'While we are out here on strike, there are staff inside providing life services and high risk areas are being staffed as normal,' said Helen.

The local nurses on strike said their main focus is for the recruitment and retention of nurses, while also looking for better pay.

'No one wants to go on strike, but we were left with no other option,' said Helen. 'It's an awful position for us to be put in, but this isn't something that just happened over night.'

Helen said as far as she knows, nothing has been resolved. She added the Government are not coming up with any proposals or negotiations.

Many Irish nurses now live and work in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Dubai because they receive a decent salary for working less hours that they do in Ireland.

'Irish nurses are highly sought after because we are well trained,' said Helen. 'They would stay in Ireland if conditions were different.'

Helen reported that there was a huge mandate for strike among the members. She added that they are losing good nurses to other countries.

With no negotiations or proposals in place between the INMO and the Government, the strike action will continue.

There are three further consecutive strike days scheduled for this week, starting today (Tuesday), and another two for the following week.

The local nurses on the picket line thanked the public for their support.

Gorey Guardian