‘The Damage Is Already Done’

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke about the series of 24-hour nurses’ strikes which are set to begin tomorrow and take place over the next few weeks.

He said the Cabinet spoke about the matter this morning.

He also said he has no doubt about the depth of feeling – about pay and conditions – felt by those those who will strike, and he has no doubt about the “considerate” support among the public for nurses and midwives.

He said efforts are still ongoing in the Labour Court to resolve the matter.

He then added:

“I should say regrettably, in terms of patients and patient care, the damage is already done. Over 1,000 operations cancelled, thousands of outpatient appointments cancelled as well.

“Even if the strike is called off last minute, it will not be possible to reschedule those appointments for tomorrow. So in terms of patient care, unfortunately the harm is already done.

Mr Varadkar also said that while the country ended up with a “small budget surplus” last year and this is hoped for again this year.

But, he said, if there’s a no-deal hard Brexit, “it wouldn’t be fair to taxpayers to borrow money to fund pay increases”.

He said to borrow money to fund pay increases would only lead to “pay-cuts down the line”.

Bríd Smith

Meanwhile…

People Before Profit-Solidairty TD Bríd Smith put to Mr Varadkar that he’s earning six times as much as a nurse.

She asked if he was worth six nurses. She then said:

“I think six nurses are worth a hell of a lot more myself. But we cannot contain that situation forever. Pay has to be put at the heart of it and Joe Public knows that that’s the reason.”

Mr Varadkar responded by calling Ms Smith a “populist”.

He said she stands up in the Dáil every week and supports every cause.

He added:

“That’s why your support is meaningless, because you support every cause.” 

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Earlier: Calling Out Around The World

67 thoughts on “‘The Damage Is Already Done’

  1. GiggidyGoo

    I wonder if Vacron has any idea of the damage done by waiting lists, people on trolleys delays in getting things like cannabis oil authorized, non authorizing of drugs. Yellow pack smear tests etc.
    I’d think a lot more than this action.

        1. Fact Checker

          Actually he worked as a politician AND a doctor for five or six years!

          AFAIK he only finally quit when he was made a cabinet minister in 2011.

        2. Rob_G

          He knows nothing about it apart from having a degree in medicine

          That’s a fairly substantial ‘apart from’, there…

      1. GiggidyGoo

        Of course he has. But he doesn’t see to be too worried about those does he? No great pronouncements about the damage done as a result of his and FGs failures in those regards, but he can put aside his precious time to comment like he did here about his and GGs failures towards the frontline health personnel.

      2. Dr.Fart MD

        well Cian, as a doctor, I can tell you Varadkar DOES know the damage done, but also does not care, as the man is a clear narcissist. Yet you blindly follow him regardless of his many failings. Because you work for him. Which shows a very weak constitution in you. It doesn’t bother you either, what happens to people, people your government are hired to help. All that matters to you is FG being in power. You’re pinky, minky, tootle pootle, silly pants.

        1. Rob_G

          Your claim to being an actual doctor is the funniest thing published on Broadsheet since Terry took himself off to save Nigerian cinema.

        2. harry

          Actually Leo works for us and knowing the consequences from government action he is guilty of criminal negligence
          If he was running a business and people suffered as a result of his actions he would be sued or jailed for criminal negligence
          He is also paid by us

      3. Ciuncainteach

        @Cian (Replying here as there wasn’t an option on the other comment)

        ‘– bringing up trivial, or uninformed, or one-off issues to parliament.’

        Fully agree, but would counter that all TDs are guilty of this to a greater or lesser extent. Just take a look at the quality of Parliamentary Questions in general. I don’t know where I would place Deputy Smith on this spectrum.

        I would be generally aligned with Deputy Smith’s positions, but she (and others on the left) do take ideologically inconsistent positions on a lot of issues such as the Bin Charges, Water Charges, and the Local Property Tax.

  2. Eoin

    Will any people die tomorrow as a direct result of the nurses’ strike and if so, how many?

    Yes, around 10.

    [*puts on God to Moses voice and makes it more irritating for the internet*SHOW. YOUR. WORKINGS]

    Reputable US Study of nurses strikes there shows mortality rates increase by 19% when nurses strike. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber and Samuel Kleiner of Cornell University who analyzed 50 strikes in New York between 1983 and 2004

    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/41eb/4bb111161cd5af66f21b4113da6a43315510.pdf

    How many people die on a daily basis in hospitals? We don’t know strangely. There are figures for death from specific conditions but not overall figures.

    We do know 30-31,000 died in total nationally in each of 2017 and 2018, that’s 85 a day. How many die in hospital? Common sense would suggest all but the most sudden of deaths will be in hospital, even deaths of the elderly in nursing homes who would be transferred to hospital for their final hours. Say 50 deaths a day take place in hospital, that feels reasonable.

    19% of 50 = 10.

    1. George

      Very good, except you made up the figures at the end…

      Also Ireland is not New York. Fewer bullet wounds for a start.

      1. Eoin

        True, Ireland isn’t NY, Ireland’s health system is far more reliant on nurses, isn’t our ratio nurses:doctors one of the highest in the world? Won’t our system be more affected by a nurses’ strike.

        I don’t think the cause of death – circulatory failure or gun-shot wound is relevant to the *increase* in mortality rate when nurses strike.

        The 85 national average deaths is a sound average. The 50 deaths in hospital is an educated guess.

        1. Fact Checker

          You make a very reasonable point.

          Deaths at home, either after a long illness or accident, as well as hospice and nursing home deaths, probably make up a higher share than you are estimating though.

          Hospitals try very hard to discharge people who are ill with no hope of recovery.

          1. Eoin

            In the absence of figures from the HSE for the number of deaths in hospitals, we can argue all day about what % of the [per CSO] average of 85 people who die in this country every day, die in hospital. However, speaking from personal experience, even those with terminal conditions, eg critical stroke, heart attack and cancer, receive end of life treatment in hospitals and that’s where they die. And I’ve seen enough of hospitals to know that lots of the elderly are in beds there rather than nursing homes or hospices.

  3. Starina

    “That’s why your support is meaningless, because you support every cause.”

    Oh no! A politician that stands up for the people and doesn’t just get sloshed in the Dail bar when she bothers to show up at all!

    1. Ciuncainteach

      Agreed. Completely disingenuous from Varadkar, as if he didn’t do likewise when he was in opposition.

      1. Fact Checker

        Actually not true.

        Varadkar in opposition (c 2009) made a point of calling for an end to benchmarking and for a cull of quangos.

        The savings were all a bit makey-uppy but he was at least trying to signal a concern for fiscal rectitude.

        1. Ciuncainteach

          Appreciate the correction where I’m in error Fact Checker.

          I had intended to say (but admittedly should have been more comprehensive in my statement) that one of the key functions of the opposition in parliament is to act as a check on the the executive, and that his comment “That’s why your support is meaningless, because you support every cause.” is disingenuous because this is what a good opposition should do when Government policy is at issue.

          1. Cian

            @Ciuncainteach
            I totally agree that one of the key functions of the opposition in parliament is to act as a check on the executive.

            But there is a world of difference between
            – disagreeing with everything – because you are in opposition
            – bringing up trivial, or uninformed, or one-off issues to parliament.
            – acting as a sounding board but challenging the executive to ensure an optimum outcome for all.

            Note: I’m not putting Bríd Smith into the first category; but she is somewhere between the last two.

          2. Fact Checker

            It’s a matter of taste, but I find automatic opposition to government policy tedious.

            Otherwise you just get Westminster Punch’n’Judy stuff.

            In fairness Bríd Smith has supported government policy on certain issues.

    2. realPolithicks

      The difference between someone like Brid Smith and varadkar is that she actually wants to improve peoples lives and make a positive difference for them, he on the other hand doesn’t give a rats ass about anything other than being reelected.

      1. Cian

        Another difference between the two is that Varadkar is in charge and must take a stance on *every* issue, he needs to be consistent on issues, and he will suffer the consequences of the decisions. In this instance if he agrees to increase their wages then the HSE will cost an extra 300m a year, every year; then all other public servants will be looking for their 15%… which has an impact on all other spending and/or tax increases.

        Bríd Smith, on the other hand, can cherry pick the issues she supports, and can be inconsistent on her solutions. She can believe the nurses should get the 15% – but she doesn’t have to worry about the repercussions.

        Again, I do like Bríd Smith, and she isn’t the worst of them by a long shot.

  4. curmudgeon

    God you NPC’s are unbearable. The public sector unions are crippling the country with their pensions and vastly overpaid & underperforming members. The Taoiseach is doing the only sensible thing he can – trying to keep a lid on the public finances so the country AS A WHOLE does not fall even further into debt.

      1. curmudgeon

        About the 200Bn national debt hole we’re in or the fact the public sector workers are overpaid by 40% compared to their private sector counterparts? Or do I need to spoonfeed you the difference in private sector vs public pensions?

        IF YOU ARE A PAYE PRIVATE SECTOR WORKER/SELF EMPLOYED THE PUBLIC SECTOR IS ROBBING YOU

        irishtimes.com/business/economy/report-says-public-staff-earn-40-above-those-in-private-sector-1.3025373

        irishtimes.com/business/personal-finance/public-sector-pensions-worth-80-more-than-those-in-private-sector-1.3726553

        nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/ireland

        1. Ciuncainteach

          You are placing several ‘facts’ (for which again – no citations provided) adjacent to each other without actually giving any basis for doing so.

          Is there significant public debt? Absolutely. How much of that is attributable to the wages of the public sector? Please show your math, or give citations from reputable sources.

          (also – hilarious that you are referring to other people as ‘NPCs’ for espousing their opinions when yours could have been a copy-paste from Baby’s book of Thatcherisms)

        2. Cian

          Comparing public sector ‘average’ wage against private sector ‘average’ wage isn’t fair unless you take into account things like age profiles (older people tend to earn more than younger) and education attainment (more education = more money). In fact this is mentioned in that very article (“Davy said that at most around half of this pay gap between public and private sector workers could be attributed to differences in education, experience, qualifications and other factors. “)

          1. Ciuncainteach

            He also conveniently neglected this paragraph from the bottom of the report:

            ‘The Davy study is at odds with a recent Central Statistics Office (CSO) paper which found that public sector workers are paid slightly less than their private-sector counterparts overall. That research said that those at the bottom of the income ladder tend to be better off in the public sector while those at the top earn more in the private sector.’

      1. curmudgeon

        Go ask a HSA (Health service assistant) who does the messy work in our hospitals. Ask them how they are treated by nurses and then come back to me.

        If we both agree that Irelands health service is badly run and its all managements fault than explain to me why this isn’t the fault of nurses at management level (earning up to 140k) and why they should get a raise of 12%!

        1. Alex Francis

          I spend a huge amount of time in hospital. I’ve spent the best part of the last 6 years in hospital. I can tell you emphatically that the nurses that look after you, your elderly parents, your children do not earn 140k. Again this is a disgusting lie.
          In all the years I’ve been in hospital I’ve never seen any nurse treat anyone, porter, cleaning staff, canteen worker, clerical staff, security staff, etc. badly.

      1. curmudgeon

        You know nothing. The INMO have restricted the working practices of their members so much so that our hospital systems and work practices are out of date and are against change at all costs. Their are so many nurses in management roles due to seniority (years worked) and not merit. That is why the system is inefficient. The union is a massive problem for Irish people who are paying for the most expensive & worst performing health services in the world.

          1. Rich Uncle Skeleton

            Well they can hardly tell you that, if they did then you would know something, rendering their previous statement about you knowing nothing incorrect. And I bet this curmudgeon is all about consistent and accurate statements, not like us NPCs.

  5. Murtles

    Leo always shows his true smug elitist colours and what a perfect example to show his childish pettiness akin to a national school playground row
    – Leo, you’re not worth six Nurses
    – On yeah? Yeah? Well your support is meaningless…

      1. Cian

        Interesting article. I wonder why he wouldn’t answer “which actresses he fancies”?
        and that bit about “every hot-blooded, right-of-centre female in the country classes Leo as Ireland’s most eligible bachelor.” how cool is that.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          No point in trying to divert from my question though. Was that an interesting point (or Uni points if you like)? How does someone get ‘awarded extra points’ when he is in a course that he is qualified for, to bring him up to the points for something he seemingly wasn’t capable of getting points for off his own bat?

          1. Cian

            I don’t know the answer in Leo Varadkar’s case.

            But one reason you might get more points is if you challenge your leaving cert results. The CSO is tardy about upgrading your points, so the higher points are only awarded after the college places are allocated. There was a case last year where someone sued the CSO to get there points earlier so they could start the course they deserved.

          2. Rob_G

            Seriously – your obsession with Leo is genuinely troubling at this stage.

            He went on to spend 6 or 7 years qualifying as a doctor, which, I understand, isn’t exactly a cakewalk, and you are formulating some conspiracy about what he got in his leaving cert…

            Both law and medicine have very high points – this is something you should bear in mind when you are sitting your leaving next year.

          3. Jake38

            “Uni”………..

            Not a contraction we use here in the Free State.
            Bot not up to idiomatic scratch?

  6. :-Joe

    A bit of blunt honesty from our psychadelic facist dear Leodar, out in the open for everyone to gasp at….

    Sinister and nasty piece of work….

    Who would you vote for….
    A) The incompetant poo-head who has failed miserably at every government brief he’s been handed for nothing from Health to Social to etc etc. and now Taoiseach.

    B) The democratically elected Independant local hard working candidate who represents the constituents and the citizens, nurses in this case, as a whole while also part of a social democratic coalition.

    Sadly, half of you will be looking towards ff soon. The other half of the ff/fg coalition establishment for private foreign global corporate finance interests. Yet again you’ll be playing right into the scam of this charade. The on-going relentless tyranny and injustice.

    :-J

  7. Sheik Yahbouti

    This man, and his fellow travellers, have to go – and soon. The well being of every person in this country depends upon it.

  8. Dr.Fart MD

    To cure yourself Cian, you’ll need to find empathy and humanity. A drop of compassion for felow mankind, and not just for those who can serve you best, would also go a long way to curing you.

    Rob Gallagher, I am a doctor. a doctor of audiology. Still a doctor, and can still use it as a title.

      1. Dr.Fart MD

        no. they don’t. but i hardly need any of those when dealing with establishment drum beaters like you. The most tunnel-visioned commenters on the internet.

  9. Chris

    “That’s why your support is meaningless, because you support every cause.”
    Yeah and there are so many causes that need sticking up for because of you ,Varadkar , and this FFG govt that have decimated the people of ireland. STFU and pay them.
    Way to go Brid. Well said!

  10. Ian-O

    If they are public patients dying why is Varadkar bothered?

    He cannot relate to anyone who isn’t extremely wealthy but due to not having a limbic system, has no real feelings about them one way or the other.

  11. harry

    THE problem is its a collective pay deal
    For example pen pushers get in theory the same deal as nurses gardai in increases and the gold played pensions is fiscal lunacy
    Anyway brexit might give the opportunity that it makes it impossible to pay these gold pleated pensions
    Weld done Leo for being the man who finally destroys our economic
    I look forward to brexit which will finally make it impossible for the government to function without radical reform
    And that means a cannibalisation of our whole public sector
    Its time the public sector was two tier with money to pay for nurses gardai and teachers and the rest in the lower tier

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