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Senator Máire Devine

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I congratulate those involved in the Australian vote for same-sex marriage, especially the 61% who voted in favour of it. I am proud that some of the Irish method was replicated in the campaign and that it was led by many Irish living over there. I hope Australia will legislate for it before Christmas.
I wish to highlight the alarming rise in attacks on mental health staff, as reported today. The number has gone from three in 2010 to over 150 thus far this year. This is violence on our front-line staff. I know there are challenging environments, especially in mental health settings. The decrease in staffing levels, ageing staff, younger staff walking away and volatility has contributed significantly to leaving many of our nurses disabled for life. The volatility has been caused more recently by the intensive laboratory-grown potency of synthetic drugs. Many cannot go back to work. I have represented several in the Labour Court while trying to make people accountable for what happens.
We need to address the main issues of recruitment and retention of staff, reopening closed beds, adequate step-down facilities and stopping the hundreds of thousands of elderly who have to wait more than 24 hours on trolleys or plastic chairs. This is causing at least 350 deaths per year in medical deterioration. I call on the Minister to come to the House so that we can ask about the protection of front-line workers, especially in mental health services.