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RTE's Ingrid Miley and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
RTE's Ingrid Miley and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

FF says Leo isn't RTE's Ingrid Miley and shouldn't act as a 'commentator' on the nurses' strike

Fianna Fáil’s deputy leader Dara Calleary said there “is no sense of leadership” from the Taoiseach.
Jan 31st 2019, 3:11 PM 30,018 66

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has been accused as acting as a commentator during yesterday’s 24-hour strike by nurses. 

During Leaders’ Questions today, Fianna Fáil’s deputy leader Dara Calleary said there “is no sense of leadership from him”. 

“What we had yesterday was the Taoiseach acting as a commentator once again. It was like he was Ingrid Miley, outside the talks and giving his commentary on those talks,” he said, adding that there is no sense of engagement or concern to try to avoid the second strike. 

Ingrid Miley is the Industry and Employment Correspondent for RTÉ. 

“Is the government just putting its head in the sand once again, when once again next Tuesday they will take to the pickets and all the government will offer is tea and sympathy?” asked Calleary. 

Responding to the comments, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the government “did not want to be at odds with nurses in Ireland”.

Pay sanctions

While stating that nurses are “great people, doing very difficult work, often in very pressurised circumstances”, the Tánaiste did not rule out sanctions against striking nurses.

Reiterating points made yesterday by Health Minister Simon Harris, Coveney said the government is taking legal advice in regard to the options that are available to them that are “consistent with the pay agreement that everybody signed up to with their eyes open”

Yesterday, Harris said the government was not in the space of pay sanctions.

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The Tánaiste said there is a responsibility on unions and their leadership to fulfil the obligations of the pay agreement.

That is what protects Ireland in terms of industrial peace and ensures that civil servants and public servants get the pay increases they deserve and that we allocate the appropriate level of resources to deliver on those commitments, which is what we are doing.

What we cannot do is interrupt that process and undermine it fundamentally for any one sector. 

He added that the government wants the industrial relations machinery of the State, the Labour Court in particular, to work with both sides to find a basis to at least avoid industrial action next week.

“The Government is sincere about that but we have to do it within the parameters the Taoiseach has outlined,” said Coveney, adding that talks must happen within the confines of the public pay agreement for all civil servants. 

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Christina Finn


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