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Nurses in Ireland need extra leave days: opposition backs INMO demand

DUBLIN: The nursing community, including INMO, is preparing to launch a strong campaign to ensure the immediate implementation of the benefits.

The unions are demanding that health workers be given an extra ten days’ leave. The union first raised this demand in November last year. A petition was also filed in this regard, but no action has been taken so far. The union points out that the UK, France and various EU countries have already paid compensation to nurses. It was in this context that the union decided to launch the campaign.

Meanwhile, opposition parties have come together with open-hearted support for health workers, adding to the momentum. The Social Democrats, Labour party and Sinn Féin all called on the Government to compensate nurses for their extra work.

Labour demands an immediate decision

According to the Labour Party, the general opinion is that extra leave should be granted, and that a “one-off payment” should be considered if necessary. “Whether it’s a one-off payment or extra leave, this must be on the table,” Labour leader Alan Kelly said.

Expressing gratitude will not help – Social Democrat

The Social Democrat says the government often expresses gratitude to healthcare staff and nurses for their brave efforts, but this does not help them. Róisín Shortall of the Social Democrats said that giving nurses’ extra annual leave was the smallest thing the government should do in this regard.

Sinn Féin says INMO’s demand is reasonable

Sinn Féin’s health spokesman David Cullinane said: “I think it is a reasonable ask on [the INMO’s part]. I think that goodwill has to be demonstrated.

“If I was the Minister [for Health], I would be seeking to meet with the INMO and the other healthcare unions as soon as possible to work out what supports and compensations can be put in place to acknowledge the contributions that frontline workers make.”

INMO with a firm stance

For the past one year, leaders and ministers, including the Taoiseach, have only been praising the services of health workers. The situation is similar at this time, and clarity is still lacking. It is in this context that the campaign is planned, said Phil Ní Sheaghdha, general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

COVID-19 has infected over 7,500 nurses and midwives in Ireland. Many are still suffering the after-effects of the virus. No reply has been received yet to the petition filed last November. “It is extremely important that they have time to recover from the workload,” Ms. Ní Sheaghdha said.

She also pointed out that the World Health Organisation had warned that health care workers would become exhausted and ill if they continued to work without rest.

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