12 November 2019
DUP Lagan Valley MLA and former Health Minister Edwin Poots has said Sinn Fein is good at spinning but doesn’t turn up when it matters.
Mr Poots said,
“The biggest obstacle to fairer pay for our nurses and healthcare workers is the lack of a Minister. The last Health Minister was Michelle O’Neill but she ran out the door and left the decisions piled on her desk and her colleague the Finance Minister ran out the door without setting a budget. It is high time for Sinn Fein to lift their blockade, appoint Ministers and stop trying to take the public for fools.
The DUP supports fair pay for nurses and brought £1.5b extra to Northern Ireland of which £6.4m was for the retention and recruitment of nurses and midwives. But money alone will not solve the problems. There needs to be reform. We need to train more nurses – approximately 7000 applicants for 700 places is not sensible. Spending millions on agency staff from GB is not sustainable.
The DUP has consistently voted to support fairer pay for nurses. In Westminster our MPs voted against Parliament taking on the role of the independent pay review body. Indeed, that body later awarded nurses in England 6.5% increase over 3 years which nurses in England accepted.
It was DUP votes in the House of Commons that helped ensure the UK-wide public sector pay cap was lifted.
Parliament does not set public sector pay in NI, Stormont does. But Sinn Fein is blocking Stormont. Indeed, even without an Executive, a Private Member’s Bill could set pay. Sinn Fein won’t even appoint a Speaker to allow such a debate to take place.
It time for Sinn Fein to tell the truth. Its time for Michelle O’Neill to get back to her desk.
Whilst Sinn Fein talk, they don’t turn up when it counts.”