The general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), Phil Ní Sheaghdha says that figures being quoted by the Government in relation to pay for nurses have been exaggerated.
She also told RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that the money currently being spent within the health service is being “spent in the wrong places.”
Ms Ní Sheaghdha said that the INMO had already piloted a programme in relation to staffing on wards and in community services that had been independently reviewed and proven to actually save money and improve morbidity rates by 50%.
“We won’t be found lacking if they talk to us,” she added.
“We want to engage in talks to show how the HSE can save money.
“We’re there (at talks) to do business.”
Ms Ní Sheaghdha said that the INMO was disputing figures quoted by the Government as the average wage for nurses. Most nurses have a modest salary with a basic starting rate of €29,000 rising to a maximum €45,000 after 15 years, she said.
“We’re giving the actual figures. Nurses have been posting their pay slips on social media. The public can see what nurses are earning. There isn’t a nurse working on an average pay of €50,000 if there was I’d love to meet them. It was a cheap shot.”
She said that the INMO wants “real engagement”. If the HSE and the Departments of Health and Public Service “come to the table with the right demeanour, then that will help to avoid a dispute.”