Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Dara Calleary has said that it is completely unacceptable that Section 39 organisations have not had their funding increased to allow them restore pay to their hard working and dedicated staff.

Deputy Calleary was commenting in advance of his party’s PMB on increasing funding to these voluntary organisations, which include many hospices and disability organisations across the country, to allow them restore pay to their staff.

“Many Section 39 organisations had their grants cut by the last government and were instructed by the HSE to pass the cuts onto their staff in line with both FEMPI legislation and the Haddington Road Agreement.

“Historically, there was a link between public sector workers and Section 39 workers. However, even though pay restoration is now on the cards for traditional public sector workers, the same cannot be said for Section 39 workers unless funding is increased.

“Now that the State’s finances are in a healthier position, funding to Section 39 organisations should be increased to allow for pay restoration.

“There are other organisations, known as Section 38 bodies that perform similar work to Section 39 organisations. However, staff members in these organisations are counted as public sector workers and are entitled to pay restoration unlike those in Section 39 organisations.

“This is clearly unfair, and must be rectified by the Government.

Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher added: “These organisations do amazing work on behalf of the State. Hospices and disability organisations, for all intents and purposes, do the work that the State should be doing.

“Families up and down the country have been supported at some of the most difficult times by hospices, such as Marymount Hospice in my own city of Cork.

“The staff members deserve to have their pay restored in recognition of their work and dedication. The management of Section 39 organisations need the Government to release additional funding to allow this to happen.

“Health and ancillary professionals are rightly annoyed at seeing colleagues in similar organisations having their pay restored with no sight of their pay being restored.

“Minister Harris must request additional funding from the Department of Public Expenditure to increase annual funding to Section 39 organisations with the express intention of restoring pay. Leaving it to the management of these organisations to choose between restoring pay and maintaining services is an abdication of responsibility by the Minister and the HSE,” concluded Kelleher.