Tens of the thousands of people, including Éirígí members and supporters, took to the streets of Dublin today (February 9) to march in support of striking nurses and their demand for an improved public healthcare system. Almost 40,000 members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation have already withdrawn their labour for three days over the last fortnight. Additional strike days will follow throughout February if Leo Varadkar and his government refuse to meet the pay needs of the nurses.
Speaking from the rally Éirígí’s Damien Farrell said, “If Harris and Varadkar were wondering how much public support the nurses have, they got their answer today. Men, women and children from across the state made it to Dublin in huge numbers at very short notice to support the nurses and their demand for adequate funding for our public health services. From the day of the first strike it was clear that the nurses had huge online support. Today was a real world demonstration of the support.”
Damien continued, “Today we again saw nurses demand that the government give them a reason to stay in Ireland and a reason for our nurses who are overseas to return home. Successive governments have shamefully refused to provide our nurses with wages that reflect their professional qualifications and the incredibly jobs that they do, often in extremely difficult working conditions. The thing that our nurses need is very simple - a sustainable career in their own country.
That isn’t too much to ask for health workers who have studied for years to attain qualifications; health workers that are the backbone of our public health service; health workers that we all rely on when we sick, injured or otherwise in need of their help.”
Damien concluded by again pledging Éirigí’s support to the nurses, “Éirígi is standing shoulder to shoulder with the INMO, the Psychiatric Nurses Association and anyone else that is willing to take a stand for a public health service worthy of the name. This battle has been decades in the brewing. If the nurses fail to achieve their demands, the consequences will be measured in avoidable suffering and death. And the reverse is also true. If the nurses win their demands, it will mean better healthcare for us all. Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the government ‘Independents’ need to realise that this is one battle they cannot win.”