Athlone Sinn Fein standing with the staff nurses in Portiuncula Hospital

INMO Organiser, Dean Flanagan (left), is pictured with Sinn Fein local election candidate Padraig Hegarty on the Portiuncula Hospital picket line in Ballinasloe

INMO Organiser, Dean Flanagan (left), is pictured with Sinn Fein local election candidate Padraig Hegarty on the Portiuncula Hospital picket line in Ballinasloe

Local Sinn Féin aspirant, Padraig Hegarty and other local members joined INMO members on the picket line at Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe on their first day of industrial action. The pickets were underway from early morning at the hospital and over the course of the day garnered a large volume of support from people from all walks of life.

The rationale for the strike is based around the nurses and midwives appeal to Government for adequate pay, better conditions and safer staff levels.

As one placard stated, “I am not striking for the good of my health, I am striking for the betterment of yours”.

The nurses taking a stand are adamant that they will continue to protest and rally to have their demands heard.

Local election candidate, Padraig Hegarty commented, “the next generation of nurses will leave for places like Canada, Australia and America if something is not done. This will have a devastating effect on our health services. The Government needs to get its head out of the sand and realise the negative impact this will have if retention is not addressed. How can the Government not find the money to hire more nurses and pay them appropriately? With more strikes planned and the potential of three further days of industrial action planned next week, it is difficult to know where or how it may end.”

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