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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Nurses' Living Out Allowances.

Tuesday, 28 June 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 223 No. 9

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Mr. O'Leary: asked the Minister for Health whether, in view of his [1351] recent statement on the need for improving conditions of nurses in the Republic, he will now arrange for the upgrading of nurses' living-out allowances which are extremely unrealistic in the Dublin area.

Mr. O'Malley: The salaries of nurses employed in the health services are on a national basis. The present scales are in accordance with an arbitration award made in December, 1964.

Living-out allowances are not paid but the salaries of nurses who are provided with accommodation, board and laundry are subject to deductions, at standard rates, in respect of these items.

I am aware that nurses who live out, particularly in the Dublin area, feel that they are at a financial disadvantage compared with their colleagues who are provided with accommodation within a hospital. Any claim for a special monetary allowance in this regard would, of course, be a matter for consideration under the scheme of conciliation and arbitration for local authority staff.

Mr. O'Leary: Do I glean some sympathy for the predicament of nurses, in Dublin especially? It is an extremely cramped bed-sittingroom you can obtain at the moment at £4 a week. Would the Minister be prepared to consider the claim, taking into account particularly the situation of these people in Dublin?

Mr. O'Malley: The answer to the first part of the Deputy's question is that he does glean a great deal of sympathy, but the scheme of conciliation and arbitration for such nurses is there and it would be presumptuous of me to anticipate in any way what the findings of the arbitration might be. I would say, however, that I feel that non-resident nurses are at an economic disadvantage compared with resident nurses, who pay about £160 a year for board, apartments and laundary.

I would also like to say to the Deputy, that from the purely economic aspect of this, where we have to build nurses' homes and where we are building [1352] nurses' homes at all, a more realistic living-out allowance might save a substantial capital investment in this respect.

Mr. Lyons: Information on Michael D. Lyons Zoom on Michael D. Lyons We hope that when the Minister does this, he will do it not alone for Dublin but for the rest of the country as well, as the same problem arises all over the country.

Mr. O'Malley: As I said in the first paragraph, the salaries of nurses employed in the health services are on a national basis and whatever is decided will be offered to all.

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