- Created: Thursday, 12 April 2018 11:31
Mr Peter Hughes - 12th April 2018
Minister, Chairperson, Delegates,
I am pleased to bring you this report as General Secretary on the occasion of our 47th conference here in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan. I would like to especially welcome Minister Daly and look forward to his address. I want to thank the Cavan/Monaghan Mental Health and Intellectual Disability branches for hosting conference.
As you know we have focussed a lot of attention on the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing, and I will return to this topic later. But for now I am pleased to be able to report to Conference that despite this crisis our PNA membership remains stable and has even increased in the past year.
The National Ambulance Representative Association (NASRA) membership continues to grow with a significant increase in the past six months. This is a reflection of the leadership, hard work and representation provided by Tony Gregg and Mick Dixon over the past seven years. Mick has recently retired from the position of Chairman of NASRA and Sinead McGrath has been elected as the new chairperson. I want to take this opportunity to thank Mick for all his work over the years and wish Sinead every success in the role.
For over seven years NASRA subscriptions have been deducted at source by HSE payroll, However, since last November the HSE are refusing to deduct subscriptions at source for new applicants. This is a total affront to the fundamental rights of employees to organise and to freedom of association. When we consider that the HSE deduct at source for the credit union, Banks, insurance companies, GAA draws, their behaviour in relation to NASRA members is absolutely shameful.
NASRA mounted a very strong protest outside the National Ambulance Services Central Payroll Department in Tullamore in February as the first step of resistance to this discriminatory action by the HSE. We will be intensifying our campaign to resolve this basic fundamental right to freedom of association in the coming weeks and will not desist until this matter is satisfactorily resolved.
I will be insisting that the HSE respect the wishes of paramedics nationally to join the union of their choice and to recommence the deductions forthwith.
IFESA continues its work on behalf of its members despite a disappointing outcome in the Court of Appeal on the issue of union recognition.
Delegates, the inadequacies and underinvestment in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have been highlighted at conferences for many years and in numerous other forums. I took the opportunity last June to outline the PNA's serious concerns regarding CAMHS to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services on no less than two occasions.
This was an important opportunity to outline the inadequate service provision for the Children and Adolescents experiencing mental health problems in Ireland.
For a country that purports again and again to put the best interests of our children first, the Report from the Committee published in October 2017 highlighted some stark facts. According to the United Nations Children's Emergency Report “Building the Future” published last year, when compared to 37 nations in the developed world, Ireland has the fourth highest teenage suicide rate.