Catherine Connolly TD
The Dáil, sitting in the Convention Centre.
Independent TD Catherine Connolly spoke during the motion on pay for student nurses and midwives.
She described Junior Health Minister Anne Rabbitte’s speech on how “exciting” the nursing career is as ‘disingenuous’. As was, she added, an ovation by TDs ahead of the debate for student nurses in the chamber.
Deputy Connolly said:
“The clapping. I felt embarrassed, I have to say, I clapped on two occasions. I did it with some, with some shame really, as I clapped for the nurses.
Because the hollowness of my clap and the hollowness of the clap of all of us was deafening really because, at the same time, we were in receipt of constant representations from nurses, student nurses who weren’t really being protected.
There was the whole debacle over the protective gear and all of that and then carrying out a huge burden without any payment. And then for a little while we brought in some payment for them and then took it away again, ostensibly because the situation has changed now. The situation hasn’t changed.
“Of course it has changed to the extent that we’re not using as many intensive care beds and there are not as many in hospitals but we’re actually going to face, as you well know, another surge in January or February.
Now what’s being asked here is a temporary measure as I understand it in relation to Covid and Covid is very much still with us and we talked about €18billion of extra funding going to businesses and rightly so and going to other organisations but not for student nurses, not the nurses on whom we depend.
And any study in a previous life, in psychology, any study that I ever read or looked at showed that people got better quicker as a result of interaction between nurses and the patient. I might add the porters and the cleaners as well if we treasured them and we should treasure them much better.
“But that was the greatest predictor of a patient getting better. Not the actual doctors which I pay tribute to them as well but that wasn’t the predictor of patients getting better…”
Earlier: Not All Heroes Get Paid