andMr. S. Coughlan asked the Minister for Health the reason for the delay in meeting the pay claims of mental hospital nurses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Mental Hospital Nurses' Pay Claim.
I understand that, following protracted negotiations between the County and City Managers' Association, representing the employing Health Authorities, and Trade Unions representing the psychiatric nurses, the Labour Court have now issued a recommendation which is being considered by the parties.
I am sure that the Deputy will appreciate that it would be inappropriate for me to offer any comment at this stage.
Is the Minister satisfied with the present machinery for processing pay claims of psychiatric nurses? This pay claim has been outstanding for an exceptionally long time. The nurses in Staint Joseph's Hospital, Limerick, were compelled to take to the road the other day. This situation should not have arisen.
I am totally dissatisfied with it. It is most unfair to the claimants themselves that this sort of unreasonable delay should take place in regard to any claim—justified or unjustified. I look forward to the time when there will be some sort of reasonable machinery by which workers can expect to have their claims adjudicated on within a reasonable time, whether turned down or granted, or partially granted. I think the delay in this case is ridiculous and most unfair to the nurses involved.
This claim has been pending for an unusually long time. This situation should not have arisen. The nurses should not have been compelled to take to the road.
As the Labour Court has made a recommendation, the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to make any comments on what the Labour Court has done. I totally agree with the Deputy that the process by which the claim came to the Labour Court was much too protracted.
My point was that the matter had been going on for so long that the nurses concerned were compelled to take to the road. I asked the Minister initially if he was satisfied with the present machinery.
I said I was not satisfied. I said I was totally dissatisfied.