Fianna Fáil’s Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher TD has said that nurses who missed out on salary increments as a result of a decision of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DEPR) to sanction recognition of Nursing Internship experience between 2011 and 2015 must be treated fairly, and receive the money that is owed to them.

“This situation cannot be allowed to continue with nurses who qualified during this four year period missing out on between €1,040 and €1,477 per year.”
“Equal pay for equal work must be at the cornerstone of our public sector. These nurses have been badly let down by the last Government, and should, as matters of urgency have their pay restored to match that of colleagues who qualified outside of this time period.”

“It’s estimated that the total cost of restoring their salaries would be in the region of €4.2 million per annum.”

“This is a major bone of contention for those affected, many of whom are struggling to pay for exorbitant private rent and attempting to save for mortgage deposits.”

“Tough decisions were taken during the recession, but the State was in a position to restore pay, and agreement was reached between the nursing unions, the HSE and the Department of Health less than a year ago. Unfortunately, DEPER refused to sanction the pay restoration leaving thousands of nurses out of pocket.”

“Pay is a major bug-bear for newly qualified nurses, and plays a significant part in a nurse’s decision to stay in Ireland, or go overseas. We cannot afford to lose any more nurses to other countries.

“€4.2 million would be money well spent if it enables us to keep Irish-trained nurses in Irish hospitals,” concluded Kelleher.