'There is a point where we have to stand up': Nurses say the ball is in Government's court to resolve the dispute

'There is a point where we have to stand up': Nurses say the ball is in Government's court to resolve the dispute

Striking nurses outside Connolly Hospital in Dublin got a lot of support from motorists travelling on the busy Navan Road.

They left the hospital with their placards, crossing a bridge spanning the busy N3 where motorists sounded their horn to show support for their cause.

With them was the general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, who said the Government had forced the current situation on nurses.

Asked if she thought nurses had enough public support, Ms Ní Sheaghdha, said people had been showing their support in many ways.

“Our members are telling us they are actually overwhelmed,” she said at the start of the 24-hour strike.

She also warned that there would be further work stoppages on top of the six already announced.

“Yes, I think the mood of nursing and midwifery is very resolute. They believe the issue has to be addressed now,” she said.

“They are willing to negotiate. They have instructed us to negotiate on their behalf and that is what we want to do.”

Ms Ní Sheaghdha said the ball was in the Government's court now to come to the table with the mindset to resolve the dispute.

She said nurses did not believe they had stepped outside the public service agreement by taking industrial action.

“We believe fundamentally that there is a resolution within the public service agreement. We believe we were forced to the brink.”

Jacinta Shields, from Dublin, who works as a clinical nurse manager at the hospital, said she was out on the picket line because patients deserved better.

“As a nurse manager I am finding we are short-staffed every day and it means that we cannot give our full 100% to our patients.”

It is not just about pay, she said, it is about making the job she had been doing for 20 years more attractive to younger people.

“They are all going off to different places where they are more respected than they are in this country. They are not respected here.”

Aisling O'Neill from Dublin said the Government had underestimated public support for nurses.

“I did not think that we would go out on strike. It is a very difficult place for a nurse to be. We should be off the picket and at the bedside but we also need to resolve the dispute.”

Rose Shivmangal, an ex-emergency nurse, now a discharge coordinator at the hospital, said it was not easy for her to leave her job and go out on the picket line.

“You know you are walking away from patients in the hospital who are sick. That's not right but there is a point where we have to stand up.”

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