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Student focus - Forced emigration

The government is forcing young nurses and midwives to move abroad by cutting the starting salary of graduates, writes student officer Dara Ann O’Malley

I had the privilege of speaking at a recent youth rally, entitled ‘We’re Not Leaving’, in Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin. Issues discussed included forced emigration, youth unemployment, precarious work, unpaid internships, third-level fee hikes and grant cuts.

In my address, I called on the government to provide Irish youth with a future in this country. I briefed the crowd on the background to the graduate jobs initiative and outlined the proposed salary and working conditions for graduates in Ireland compared to countries such as Canada (€43,614), Australia (€28,688) and England (€33, 083 including the London allowance).

According to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, over 1,500 people sought verification to work abroad last year. The Irish government is forcing young nurses and midwives to emigrate by reducing the starting salary of newly qualified graduates. What will the long-term cost of this mass emigration be on the Irish health care system? It costs the tax payer more than €90,000 to train a nurse/midwife. The Irish tax payer may as well be directly funding foreign health services such as the NHS, which are welcoming our highly trained newly qualified nurses and midwives with open arms.

My speech outlined some of my experiences working as a newly qualified staff nurse in a major Dublin hospital, to inform the crowd of the challenges we face on a daily basis. The feedback from the crowd was very positive and they praised the 2012 graduates for being one of the first youth groups to stand up to the government and fight for their professions.

Nursing and midwifery are not ordinary professions. Nurses and midwives contribute immense value to Irish society. Newly qualified nurses and midwives should be cherished and valued by the Irish government. After all, they are the individuals who will be looking after all of us in our old age. I would like to thank all of the nursing and midwifery students and graduates who attended the rally and sat in the audience wearing their ‘80% No Way’ campaign T-shirts.

An INMO youth group also took part in the May Day march organised by the Dublin Council of Trade unions which took place in Dublin on May 1. The aim of this march was to protest against austerity, forced emigration and continued cuts to public services. The INMO youth group wore their yellow campaign T-shirts to the event and continue to keep the graduate campaign in the media’s eye.

INMO student officer, Dara Ann O’Malley, pictured with protestors at the May Day march on May 1 in Dublin

The 2013 INMO ADC took place in the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny from May 8-10. Numerous issues were debated such as: professional development in the future, the allocation of two delegates to attend ADC from each youth forum, nurse-patient ratios, the graduate nurse and midwife initiative, unsafe staffing levels and the Croke Park II negotiations.

This year, Sarah Hourigan was presented with the 2013 Preceptor of the Year award. She was nominated for the award by Christopher Day a fourth-year student nurse from UCD. Christopher described Sarah as an “empowering, supportive and a dedicated preceptor”. Sarah attended the awards dinner at the Annual Delegate Conference in Letterkenny, where she was presented with a €1,000 cash prize sponsored by Cornmarket and a beautiful piece of Waterford Crystal (see page 27).

The INMO congratulates all preceptors who were nominated for the award. Their dedication and enthusiasm has left a lasting impression on their students and inspired them to reach their full potential. The INMO will be running the competition again next year and I would encourage students to take part.

Meeting the students
Over the past few weeks I have met with students in Sligo General Hospital, Beaumont hospital, Connolly Memorial Hospital, Temple Street Children’s Hospital, and The Daughters of Charity services Dublin. Over the next few weeks I will be meeting students in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital Limerick and St Vincent’s and St James’s hospitals, Dublin.

Young Workers Network
On May 1, I attended the launch of the Young Workers Network, which is made up of young people from trade unions, political parties, non-profit organisations and those who are interested in fighting for a better future in Ireland. I will be attending a workshop on ‘How to use social media for effective worker campaigning’ organised by the young workers network on May 25.

For further information about the group, see www.facebook.com/YoungWorkersNetwork

Student focus - Forced emigration


June 2013 Vol 21(5)
June 2013 Vol 21(5)
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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie