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Junior doctors won't bother staying in Ireland unless tax breaks are introduced

Students on the Graduate Entry Programme are required to pay full fees of up to €16,000 per year.

Image: doctors via Shutterstock

THERE ARE CALLS for junior doctors to be given tax breaks on student loan repayments to encourage them to stay in Ireland.

The issue has already been put to the Taoiseach, Minister for Health, and Minister for Finance in a detailed report compiled by junior doctors.

Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on health Colm Burke said that as a result of a huge reduction in income, many cannot service their loans, some worth as much as €100,000.

Students on the Graduate Entry Programme are required to pay full fees of up to €16,000 per year.

“Every person who borrows money to start up a business is entitled to write off the interest against tax; so why should it be different for hospital doctors?,” the Senator said in a statement this morning.

This previously wasn’t as much of an issue, as additional income was available from working overtime.

However, this is not possible due to the full implementation of the EU Working Time Directive.

Senator Burke said:

I would support the introduction of a system whereby those who have paid full college fees would be entitled to write off the interest on their loans against tax.

The Government came under fire last year from the European Commission for a failure to implement this directive on working hours.

It limits working weeks to 48 hours on average, with a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours in every 24.

“There are still numerous cases where junior doctors are regularly required to work continuous 36-hour shifts, to work over 100 hours in a single week and 70-75 hours per week on average, and to continue working without adequate breaks for rest or sleep,” the European Commission said last October.

Read: Doctors’ organisation says politics getting in way of patient treatment >

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Nicky Ryan

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