'For somebody who'd worked in the industry, I just don't think it was very fair' - Noelle Healy on Varadkar comments
Double All Ireland winner Noelle Healy says it was unfair of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to ask all health sector workers to cancel Christmas holidays to be available for work.
Weeks before the Christmas period, Varadkar suggested all staff from the health sector put festive leave on hold due to shortages in hospitals throughout the country.
His comments led to many in the industry to tweet pictures from work with the hashtag #ImAtWorkLeo with Healy taking to Twitter on Christmas Eve to say: "Three 24 hour shifts in 6 days and 2 in the last three . It cool if I take a day or two off to celebrate Christmas with my fam @campaignforleo ?
"Thank you to everyone working over the next two days and beyond #hardworkinghealthservice #ImAtWorkLeo."
Speaking at the launch of Future Proof Media in Dublin today, Healy expanded on her comment.
"I'd just come off a weekend of night shifts and was a bit emotional," said Healy, in quotes reported by Balls.ie.
"I think it was just an easy out for him to say, 'Oh, there's not enough staff, if they were working it would be easier'. Of course there's not enough staff. People are leaving. Half of my college friends are working in Australia at the moment because there's better pay, there's better work-life balance.
"It just doesn't seem fair when people are giving up time they could be spending with their family, staying late mostly, potentially not getting paid for it; working overnight, putting themselves in stressful situations; working when they're sick.
"I just don't think it was fair for them to say that because people are taking holidays, that's why there's a beds crisis. There's a beds crisis because it's winter. People are getting the flu, people are getting sick and there's not enough beds, there's not enough wards open, there's not enough nurses to look after the patients. We don't have big enough emergency departments, we don't have the infrastructure for it - it's not that people aren't showing up.
"For somebody who'd worked in the industry himself, I just don't think it was very fair.
"People work extremely hard, there's a great solidarity there. That was shown on social media as well. It was great that it got picked up because sometimes maybe there isn't enough appreciation for the work that staff and, yeah, the health service isn't great, but when you actually get into the health service, the care that you get is as good as anywhere."