9 November 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Jonathan O’Brien has said that the INMO’s decision, to ballot its members on all out strike action, is a sign of how badly the Fine Gael and Labour Party government has failed to address the crisis of overcrowding in our hospitals.
Speaking from Cork this morning, Deputy O’ Brien said;
“The INMO’s decision to ballot its members for all out strike action shines a strong spotlight on the nature of this government’s approach to the overcrowding crisis currently gripping our hospitals. For nurses to be considering industrial action in the lead up to Christmas, shows how badly Fine Gael and the Labor Party have failed to address the crisis.
“The situation has gone too far. This isn’t Sinn Fein saying it, although we would obviously agree. This is being said by the representative body of nurses throughout the state.
“Between CUH and the Mercy Hospital, there were 677 people on trolleys in Cork during October alone. This is unacceptable and it is not how our sick should be treated by their government.
“Fine Gael and the Labour Party has abandoned frontline staff in our hospitals and undermined their work through a breathtaking level of under-investment and under-resourcing.
“The crisis is a direct result of the government’s approach to healthcare. I cannot say that I am surprised with the scale of the crisis when Fine Gael and the Labour Party cut over €2.5 billion out of the health service over the course of their first three budgets. In Budget 2016, they have provided a meagre additional €18 million for health.
“Instead of investing in public services, this government made the political choice to give tax breaks to high earners in Irish Society. They cannot then express shock when the elderly and sick are left languishing on trolleys.
“Sinn Féin would have made a better choice. In our alternative budget, Sinn Fein prioritised the provision of an additional 500 nurses to tackle the crisis in the emergency departments and to open further beds across the system. Would would also increase the number of Registered Nurse Prescribers. We have provided for additional nursing home beds, home help hours and home care packages.
“These are the progressive choices that must be made if we are serious about solving the crisis in health. Unfortunately, I believe that solving the problem is far off the radar of Minister Varadkar and this Government.”