Laois Offaly Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs slammed over student nurse vote

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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People Before Profit announce candidate for Laois

Student nurses, in white, have been on the Covid-19 frontline in the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise working side by side with existing staff.

A Laois Offaly General Election candidate has hit out at politicians who were returned to the Oireachtas for voting against a proposal to increase pay to student nurse in Portlaoise and other hospitals around Ireland.

People Before Profit representative Stephen Tynan slammed local TDs Barry Cowen and Seán Fleming of Fianna Fáil and Charlie Flanagan of Fine Gael and for voting against the motion in the Dáil calling on the government to pay student nurses who are working on the Covid-19 frontline.

“We should be doing all we can to help the healthcare service but instead student nurses and midwives are being taken advantage of. This will send the signal to any prospective nurses to not take up work in this field and cause more damage down the road. They are keeping people safe while risking their own lives, it is a big task for any young person to make. We should be ensuring they can at least afford to pay their rent, but after all the applause the government has chosen to abandon them.

“People have had enough of this double standard in society; the government’s refusal to pay student nurses is in stark contrast to the huge pay hikes they choose to give themselves earlier in the year. And when the majority of us abided by the public health guidelines, government officials chose to break the rules by dining at the Oireachtas Golf Dinner. Enough is enough.

“The refusal to pay student nurses is another sign of the contempt the government holds towards workers. The vast bulk of those on the front line are already low paid, Ireland is also one of the only EU countries without mandatory sick pay and when Covid-19 ran rampant in meat factories the government chose to lock down three counties rather than enforce regulations on the industry. They are consistently putting profit before people and health. Workers should join trade unions and start to organise for better pay and conditions,” he said.

Solidarity-People Before Profit brought forward a Dáil motion calling on the government to pay student nurses who are working on the frontline. The party says the practice of unpaid placements for these students has been scrutinized in recent months due to the increased risk to their health whilst on the frontline.

Back in March, it was announced that students who were working in hospitals whilst on placement would be paid. However, the payment has since ceased.