Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle calls for pay to be reinstated for student nurses and midwives

Pringle calls for pay to be reinstated for student nurses and midwives

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has called for pay to be reinstated for student nurses and midwives, saying a “bualadh bos” won’t pay their living expenses as they perform vital work during the pandemic.

Deputy Pringle said: “Student nurses and midwives could pay between €3,000 and €7,500 in fees while training, and also have to complete unpaid work placements. They often work part-time to supplement their unpaid placements. What planet is this Government on?

“Covid-19 has exposed many of the hypocrisies and inequalities across Ireland. We have a shortage of nurses, midwives and health professionals. Surely, we should be offering subsidies to those who wish to work in these demanding and sometimes thankless professions.”

Deputy Pringle said he supported the Solidarity-People Before Profit motion on pay for student nurses and midwives.

He said the Government’s ‘all In this together’ mantra “has been found to have a hollow ring to it, as the business lobbyists started pushing for the economy to be re-opened, despite ongoing health risks to the public, and to our most vulnerable and to our frontline workers.

“By frontline workers, I mean all of those who have kept the country going since March – those stocking the shelves, selling us groceries and other goods, childcare staff, teachers and of course, those at the coalface, caring for our sick every day. There are many others, of course, but today the focus is on our student nurses and midwives.”

The motion calls on Government to reinstate the health care assistant rate for nurses’ and midwives’ placements, to engage with unions for the establishment of a bursary or payment system, to abolish fees for students training to work on health service frontlines, and to ensure parity of pay, conditions and esteem for nurses and midwives.

Deputy Pringle said: “Like the Tories, the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil answers have been to encourage the public to ‘clap for our healthcare workers’. A clap won’t pay your rent, or put food on your table or pay for your transport to and from work. Maybe Government ministers could ask their landlord friends if they will accept a bualadh bos instead of this month’s rent from their tenants who are student nurses and midwives.”

He said the Government had to be asked at the start of the pandemic to waive parking fees for health care professionals.

Deputy Pringle said: “As always, I’m wondering why we have to be so reactive and slow.  Why can we not think about the health and well-being of our 4,000 student nurses and midwives?”

He concluded: “Support our workers, appreciate our workers, value our workers and listen to the unions. Maybe then people will start to believe again that we are actually all in this together.”

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