Monday was equal pay day in Ireland, meaning that from now until the end of this year women across Ireland will effectively work for free due to the gender pay gap of over 14%. I am sure the Taoiseach will agree with me that this is an unacceptable situation in 2020. The Taoiseach is also aware that student nurses working in placements across our hospitals during the pandemic are not being paid at all. If there is one thing worse than unequal pay it is not being paid at all. As the Taoiseach knows, the work they do is highly skilled, demanding and absolutely critical to the running of our hospitals, yet it is unpaid. The overwhelming majority of these student nurses are, as it happens, women, although men are not being paid either, and ought to be. Student nurses believe they are undervalued. They use the term exploited and it is the right word. They are at the front line in this once-in-a-century pandemic.
I want to know when the Taoiseach will end this scandal and ensure that student nurses get paid.