Protesters ‘above all’ looking for public support, says nurse

Unsafe staffing levels and overcrowding led to demonstration at Connolly Hospital, protester explains

Tara Moran: ‘The reason for the protest is to highlight unsafe staffing levels and overcrowding, but if people didn’t accept that, if people treated it like water charges, it would change.’

Tara Moran: ‘The reason for the protest is to highlight unsafe staffing levels and overcrowding, but if people didn’t accept that, if people treated it like water charges, it would change.’

 

Among the members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation protesting at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown Co Dublin on Tuesday is Tara Moran from Co Meath.

Ms Moran, who qualified as a nurse in 2017 after four years training and study, said she and her colleagues were “above all” looking for public support for their protest.

“The reason for the protest is to highlight unsafe staffing levels and overcrowding, but if people didn’t accept that, if people treated it like water charges, it would change.”

Ms Moran, who has moved home to live with her family in Co Meath, said she is often told by patients that she should go on strike as she is clearly doing the work of two to three nurses every shift. “But they don’t realise it is very hard for a nurse to strike, we are supposed to be the caring professions. Who is going to look after the patients?” she asked.

Ms Moran said she believed the Government was exploiting the vocational aspect of nursing to avoid paying a reasonable wage.

After four years training, nurses’ starting salaries are €8,000 less that occupational therapists and physiotherapists who also train for four years, but who many nurses would argue have less responsibility.

Out of Ms Moran’s class, five have gone back to college to study something else, two are destined for Australia and three are in England. Ms Moran has looked at London as a place of employment and said the NHS there “really care” for new recruits, offering a London housing allowance, and “pocket money” when starting to help new recruits settle in.

The nurses and midwives gathered at the main entrance to the hospital at lunchtime on Tuesday.

Protests have already taken place this month in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Kilkenny and Cavan.

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “This is a health service in crisis. Without a plan to improve the situation, public safety is at risk. Nurses and midwives know their patients cannot get timely and appropriate care.

“The HSE must publish a realistic winter plan and commit to ending the near-permanent crisis in Irish hospitals. This should include immediate measures to recruit and retain nurses through a pay rise. Otherwise understaffing will only get worse.”