We are all aware of the stories of many Irish Nurses that have often worked on the job with a lack of sleep due to the recurring issue of staff shortages. With this, nurses are left holding up the front line as emergency departments fail to sustain the overflow of patients. As a result of this dismay, nurses have protested, demanding that there needs to be a bigger budget for front line services, such as nurses and midwives.


“With regards to student nurses in Ireland, the current healthcare system is encouraging Irish nurses to go abroad with increasing opportunities for higher incomes.”

With this in mind, increased emphasis needs to be put on allocating an adequate number of healthcare professionals per hospital. With €1.433 billion being pumped into the National Children’s Hospital, one hopes that the over-expenditure of €433 million on this occasion does not override any hopes of a future increase in salaries for nurses, who play such a pivotal role in the daily functioning of society.

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With regards to student nurses in Ireland, the current healthcare system is encouraging Irish nurses to go abroad with increasing opportunities for higher incomes. The average pay for a registered nurse in Ireland is €31,227. This is the minimum starting salary for an entry level nurse who has less than five years’ experience. Those with more than twenty years’ experience can earn up to €40,000. Meanwhile, nurses in Australia can earn 65 thousand dollars, the equivalent of €57,312 euro, without having more than five years’ experience under their belt. With financial prospects being far greater in Australia it’s easy to see why so many Irish seek better professional opportunities abroad. The input, in their eyes, is far more than the financial output. Current nursing students entering the labour market face the eminent struggle of having to start on minimal income despite putting in overtime hours.


“With financial prospects being far greater in Australia it’s easy to see why so many Irish seek better professional opportunities abroad.”

Although a special pay package to the nurses is argued to undermine the public service agreement, is it not just and fair that front line emergency staff who look after us in ill-health deserve an increase in pay? At the end of the day, without professional healthcare staff, there would be chaos. With understaffing and overcrowding in the healthcare system, it seems that nurses working overtime should have some reward for their intensive work.

With talks of knock on claims from other public services likely to occur, the government needs to bring a fresh human resource perspective to the table if future disputes are to be resolved in a more efficient manner than that of the nurses’ dispute. While Irish nurses wait for this dispute with the government to come to an end, preferably with cash on the table, continued striking cannot persist as many patients will miss out on receiving the care they need.

Nonetheless, with the unnerving outcome of Brexit fast approaching along with the colossal over-expenditure in the new Children’s Hospital it is unlikely that the government will be wanting to spend a penny more than it can any time soon.