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06 Dec 2021

'It’s time now to stop the cheap talk': Kildare TD urges government to give booster shots to frontline workers

'It’s time now to stop the cheap talk': Kildare TD urges government to give booster shots to frontline workers

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A TD from Kildare has urged the government to provide booster shots against COVID-19 to health and social care workers.

Sinn Féin (SF) politician Réada Cronin has called on all North Kildare TDs to back her party’s motion to give vaccine boosters to all health and social-care staff as soon as possible, including those working in mental health. 

The motion, backing healthcare unions’ calls for workers to receive their Covid vaccine boosters, will be debated in the Dáil this later evening.

Ms Cronin TD explained: "I’m worried about our healthcare workers here in North Kildare who have given their all to us since the start of the pandemic."

"They’re working out of their skin in Naas General Hospital and they need their boosters urgently."

She continued: "They absolutely must get them; quite apart from this motion, I have already asked the Minister for Health (Stephen Donnelly) to outline his plan to roll out these vaccines for our key workers on the frontline who need looking after and protecting.

Talk is cheap: it’s time now to stop the cheap talk and start acting to look after our nurses and other healthcare workers."

Ms Cronin outlined that the first step would be to protect workers with booster shots so they are as safe as possible in the workplace.

Then, these workers would need "far better working conditions, decent pay and proper recognition."

The Kildare-North TD elaborated: "3,500 healthcare workers are off due to Covid-related illness (and) further thousands are suffering the medium and long-term effects of the disease."

"Getting those booster shots into them is absolutely vital as vaccine protection wanes.
 
"As usual this year, the health service is critically under-staffed in frontline workers who are under huge pressure to keep going."

"We see it in our own hospital here in Naas where our healthcare workers are underpaid, under-resourced, under-valued, are regularly to the wall, but give everything to keep services going for the community.   
 
"They need a government that stands up for them and that recognises them in what it does for them, not what it says about them, and the public need a long-term plan to end the chronic understaffing on the front line."
 
She further claimed that Budget 2022 "did diddly squat for healthcare workers", citing no proper funding and no plan for capacity.

"As a result, our healthcare workers are facing a dire winter where they lack the resources and support to look after the community as they wish to; and, indeed, to look after themselves."

"Our motion calls on the government to increase health-staff pay, improve their conditions, so we have a better chance of holding onto them.

"This includes publishing and acting on the McHugh Review, as well as giving a fair pay allowance to student nurses and midwives."

She concluded: "I’m asking all our TDs in North Kildare to put our healthcare workers first – especially our nurses -   and back our motion... please stand with us and stand up for our healthcare workers."

"Where there’s the political will, there’s the political way."

Back in September, Ms Réada Cronin publicly championed a Bill from SF which set out to end the Voluntary Contribution in schools.

In related SF news, the party has recently criticised the govt for its proposed extension of COVID-19 powers, which would see measures such mask wearing and the use of vaccine passports will remain law until February 2022.

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