Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described comments made by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, with respect to penalising the pay of striking nurses, as a ruthless and totally unacceptable threat. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Minister Harris confirmed that The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will legally consider options which may include freezing nurses’ annual incremental pay increases if the nurse do not back down on their fight for pay equality with other healthcare professionals:
“The political hypocrisy emanating from this disastrous Minister is now off the charts.
He is now talking about sanctioning some of the hardest working public servants that we have while he makes absolutely no mention of cutting the pay or benefits that have attached to the members of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board for example.
So while that utterly incompetent Board can run up cost over-runs of hundreds of millions of euros; jeopardise health projects the length and breadth of the country and blow a hole in the capital budget of the entire health service, the Minister still sees fit to protect them from anything even resembling a threat to its remuneration package.
Minister Harris is in absolutely no position to talk about the nurses acting irresponsibly when he has overseen the degradation of the Irish health service to a point where the level of dysfunction is actually endangering human life,” concluded Deputy McGrath.