THE GOVERNMENT has come under fire for voting down a motion which would have seen student nurses be paid for their work on the front-lines.
Young people in Ireland studying to become nurses are put on placement in a hospital and could work shifts up to 12 hours long; their work is unpaid, instead they receive a €50 weekly allowance.
A motion put forward by Solidarity-People Before Profit which would have seen student nurses be paid €14 an hour for their work was narrowly voted down in the Dáil on Wednesday evening by 77 votes to 72 votes.
Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens voted against the motion, while every other TD present voted in favour.
S-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett condemned the coalition government for voting the motion down, stating it was "cold-hearted".
"Politicians of all persuasions in the Dáil clapped and saluted these frontline workers who have been battling this crisis and keeping us all safe," he told the Dáil, "and yet when the rubber hits the road, they would deny these workers a very basic scheme of remuneration and respect.
"The student nurses stood up when they were called on to protect the people of this country and now the government slaps them down."
The motion included calls for the government to "immediately reinstate the payment of student nurses and midwives who are in placements during the Covid-19 pandemic", to abolish fees for students working on the front-lines and, and to ensure students are provided with fair conditions including a 37-hour-work week.
Qualified nurses, students, politicians and the general public have also voiced their anger at the coalition for denying fair payment to student nurses in Ireland.
Just home from unpaid 13 hour shift. I struggle to reach my learning goals on placement because I am carrying out duties that should be carried out by a paid staff member. I am working not just learning and govt just doesn’t value that. Is it any wonder we all want to emigrate?
— jodie (@yupfinglas) December 2, 2020
Independent Councillor and CEO of homeless charity ICHH, Anthony Flynn, took to Twitter where he said "When are we going to realize that we are being taken for fools.
"Happy to clap ... but not put their hand in their pockets."
Government have just voted against paying student nurses & midwives.
When are we going to realize that we are being taken for fools.
Happy to clap 👏 but not put their hand in their pockets 💴 pic.twitter.com/zIY6Yv3qFN
— Cllr. Anthony Flynn (@AnthonyICHH) December 2, 2020
RISE TD Paul Murphy also condemned the vote, writing "Shame on the lot of them. Claps but no pay."
"So let me get this right," one woman, Chloe O'Rourke wrote on Twitter. "Student nurses don't get paid, nurses have to pay for their registration, are paying for parking while at work and getting clamped? While TDs give themselves bonuses, have expense accounts and haven't had to put themselves in harms way? Despicable."
One student nurse, Ciarán, warned TDs that if they were among those who voted against the motion, "I've taken it personally."
"You've told me my profession isn't worth respect. You've told me you don't care.
"I'm only going to be voting for people who voted to support us."
If you're a TD who voted against supporting student nurses & midwives tonight, I want you to know I've taken it personally.
You've told me my profession isn't worth respect.
You've told me you don't care.
I'm only going to be voting for people who voted to support us.
— Ciarán from Cabra (@Freemanhasaname) December 2, 2020