Louth TD Ruairí Ó Murchú has welcomed the announcement by Taoiseach Micheál Martin that a review of pay by student nurses will be completed by the end of the month and that those who are not able to get part-time work can avail of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
The Sinn Féin deputy was one of a number who raised the issue with the government during the Order of Business at Leinster House on Tuesday.
Addressing the Taoiseach, Deputy Ó Murchú said: ‘Student nurses should be paid, particularly when they do essential necessary work and at a point in time when there are unable to work in other health settings.
‘Now that the Government has made its decision, I welcome that some can avail of the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP. I also welcome that there will be a review of allowances.
‘Third year nursing and midwifery students in the Dundalk Institute of Technology, DkIT, brought this to my attention. Would it be possible for this review as it relates to allowances to be fast-tracked? The payment could be front-loaded and paid upfront to ease some of the financial hardship that they are dealing with’.
In response, the Taoiseach said: ‘The allowances review will be completed by the end of December. The intention then is to act very quickly on that.
‘The pandemic unemployment payment decision was made between the Minister for Health and the Minister for Social Protection and will be available to student nurses who cannot partake in normal part-time work because of Covid-19. That is where things are at the moment but we are committed to protect the degree programme itself’.