• Save Cavan Midwifery Led Unit (MLU)
    A still unknown decision has led to the MLU in Cavan being effectively closed in all but name under the guise of a merger with the consultant-led unit. This may be the third time Cavan MLU has faced closure and the pregnant people in the area have faced limitation of their care choices. The effective closure of the Midwifery-Led Unit on Monday 1st of June 2020 and the manner in which this decision has been taken, with no public consultation or formal announcement from either Cavan General Hospital or the RSCI group, who we understand are leading of this decision, shows a clear lack of understanding to the needs of those in the surrounding area. The claim that it is not a downgrading of service provision is simply false. For all who have accessed the MLU, either as a service user, healthcare professional or student, this closure will have significant impact on practice and care provision. To our knowledge, no rationale has been given to explain the decision. National and international evidence supports the expansion of midwifery led services. Closure of the unit limits choices for pregnancy care in direct opposition of this evidence. We cannot emphasise strongly enough 1. The retrograde nature of this decision which flies in the face of all the international evidence on best birth practices 2. And which spells the death knell of the 2016 Maternity Strategy which was specifically committed to the expansion of MLUs, not their closure Our model of maternity care relies on the majority of women going through a system of GP referral to an obstetric unit or maternity hospital. Despite the National Maternity Strategy, the dominant model of care across all our 19 maternity units is a consultant-led model of care. We have only the two midwifery-led units in Ireland (Cavan and Drogheda) and midwifery clinics across the maternity system are far too few. -- In international terms, our model of maternity care does not offer women choice of models of maternity care, something the National Maternity Strategy acknowledges clearly. Indeed, the Irish model of maternity care is at odds with best international evidence on the effectiveness of models of maternity care - The 2016 National Maternity Strategy, called for many more MLUs to be built. Instead this has not only been completely stalled - its implementation committee has met only four times up to 2019 (PQ 14615-19; PQ 14616) and the budget of the strategy has been slashed - The HIQA maternity report (February 2020) highlighted the lack of progress in supported care pathways under the National Maternity Strategy The 2003 Hanly Report on medical staffing with its overall aim of increasing still further centralisation of all hospital services continues to cast a shadow over the relevance of the small Cavan MLU – which has never had the full support of senior clinical and management staff in Cavan. If it had, it would be used to capacity and would not now be ‘merged’ with the consultant-led services. Who is affected? *this is not an exhaustive list of affected groups* Pregnant people are entitled to choice in care provision. There is no evidence at present to show that this has been supported or considered in the move to close the Cavan MLU. We hope to hear from service users to determine what plans are in place for those currently booked in the unit, those who were potentially being transferred back to the service following obstetric assessment, and those who had previously or planned to access midwifery led care in Cavan. Supporting practitioners in the Cavan/Monaghan area to continue the provision of Midwifery Led Care is vital. Evidence of support and solutions offered thus far to the midwives within the unit is needed so that as a national community of professionals and experts in normal pregnancy care can come together to save Cavan MLU. Midwives are the experts in providing pregnancy care and a wealth of evidence supports this model, referred to as “supported care” in the Maternity Strategy. Student midwives who began their training from 2018 in Dundalk Institute of Technology must complete Midwifery Led Unit placement experience as a core area, a change from its specialist area status before 2018. This reflects the importance of midwifery led care experience in well rounded learning. If Cavan MLU were to close, students would be limited to the Drogheda MLU to achieve the hours in order to qualify and register as midwives. It is already difficult for these MLU hours to be achieved between two units with the number of students requiring the necessary time in midwifery led services. The limitations that this closure will place on students has immediate and long-term consequences. Students in the 2019 cohort were due to attend Cavan MLU for placement in March/April and must make up this time due to COVID19. These students are now in limbo regarding completing these hours and gaining critical core learning experience. USEFUL LINKS; National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026 >> https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/0ac5a8-national-maternity-strategy-creating-a-better-future-together-2016-2/ HIQA Maternity Services report February 2020 >> https://www.hiqa.ie/sites/default/files/2020-02/Maternity-Overview-Report.pdf HSE / TCD 2009 MidU study >> https://nursing-midwifery.tcd.ie/assets/publications/pdf/midu-report.pdf Association for Improvements in the Maternity Service Ireland - Midwifery Led Care information >> http://aimsireland.ie/midwife-led-care/#:~:text=Midwife%2Dled%20services%20for%20eligible,further%20attention%20 AIMSI “What Matters to You” Survey 2014/2015 >> http://aimsireland.ie/care-choices/ Bump2Babe – Cavan General Hospital survey answers CLU >> http://www.bump2babe.ie/all-answers/unit/0/ MLU >> http://www.bump2babe.ie/all-answers/unit/1/
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    Created by Laura Henry
  • Right to Work for Asylum Seekers in Ireland
    Asylum seekers are restricted from working in Ireland until they have been in the country for over 9 months. Prior to 2018 Asylum Seeker in Ireland were banned from working indefinitely. This was overturned because a Supreme Court ruling in a case, NHV, decided Ireland's policies violated fundamental rights. These historical policies restricting asylum seekers from working fuelled a cycle where people become trapped in direct provision centres and are subjected to inadequate living standards. The restrictions still imposed since 2018 are still much longer than other EU Countries such as Sweden and Portugal which allow asylum seekers to work immediately. Ireland had a recent chance to improve the lives of asylum seekers considerably and choose less restrictive options available to them when allowing asylum seekers to work. They chose lengthier waiting options for the right to work. This is contrary to recent rhetoric offered by some Irish politicians. (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/direct-provision-system-not-comparable-with-a-man-killed-by-police-varadkar-1.4270979) Allowing asylum seekers a right to work is a step towards combating racism in Ireland, slightly ameliorating the detrimental impact of direct provision in Ireland, and recognising the human rights and dignity of asylum seekers in Ireland. MASI are an excellent grassroots organisation who are campaigning tirelessly on this issues. They can be followed and supported here: https://www.masi.ie/support-us/ *The views expressed above are my own and are I am not directly attributing them to any of the organisations mentioned
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    Created by Cáit Nic Ghiolla Chomhgaill
  • Living Wage post Covid-19
    Leo Varadkar said being better off on the unemployment payment rather than working is “not fair” and “not sustainable”, and he's right. It's not fair or sustainable that minimum wages don't meet the costs of living. Raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Protect people returning back to work. This pandemic has changed our lives, and our priority should be the health and safety of everyone in Ireland. That includes making enough money to live on. Sources: https://www.newstalk.com/news/varadkar-pandemic-payment-1018514
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    Created by Shae Flanagan Picture
  • EU citzens assembly
    Democracy needs to come from the ground up we need for all the people see demoracy in action. Each indidvual needs to be able to voice their concern or idea as long as it is not harmful or discriminatory to anyone else in or outside the EU. Then this collective voice needs to be brought to Europe and listened to
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    Created by Anna Doyle
  • Protect Mothers Returning to Work in Covid-19
    In this together Or are we? The nice shiny ‘reality’ is we are all in the same storm – together. The harsh facts are, we might all be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. Women, mothers, returning to work from unpaid maternity leave, have been exiled to sea, in an unseaworthy boat. As you read this remember, that the majority of women on maternity leave in Ireland, are unpaid, with the exception of civil and public servants and a limited number of women employed in large private businesses. For the 26 weeks of their protected leave, mothers receive statutory maternity benefit provided by the state, provided she has made enough PRSI contributions. If you are a mother returning to work after maternity leave, a specially protected period of leave, enshrined in under Irish law with The Maternity Protection Acts, 1994-2004 and under EU Directive 92/85 EEC exists. These laws mean that if you have been on maternity leave, additional maternity leave, father’s leave, additional father’s leave or health and safety leave, you are entitled to: 1. return to work with the same employer or the new owner (if there was a change of owner); 2. the same job under the same contract as you had before; and 3. terms and conditions that are as good as those you had before and that include any improvements that you would have enjoyed if you hadn’t been absent. These are your legal rights as a citizen of this country and of the EU. They are not a privilege or something to be thankful for. A global pandemic does not change or impact these rights. Yet, if you are a mother in Ireland in 2020 returning from maternity leave, you are faced with total financial uncertainty and a complete lack of support. As you think about the scenario I am about to describe, replace the word mother or she, with your mother, your partner, your daughter, your sister, your niece or any woman that you know, love and cherish. The woman that you are thinking about, the person you love and care for, if she was on unpaid maternity leave during Covid-19, she is faced with a bleak choice, which amounts to a deeply unpalatable set of circumstances, different to any other worker in Ireland. If any other worker lost their job through Covid-19, if your income was reduced, or if you cannot work from home, whether self-employed or in employment, you can benefit from the Covid-19 payment or the temporary wage subsidy scheme. If however, you are a mother returning from unpaid maternity leave, you might be in the same storm as the rest of us but you are certainly not in that same boat. As a mother returning from maternity leave, your job is legally protected, however, if the business you work for is deemed an essential service, so remains open, or is about to reopen on May 18th, you are in a uniquely underprivileged situation. Remember all creches and childcare facilities are closed, and grandparents cannot help. At this point, a mother returning to work faces bleak options. Her employer can leave her job open to her, until childcare returns, but not pay her. So far, she is no different from any other employee, except, she is, as she cannot claim the temporary wage subsidy scheme. ‘The Scheme is confined to employees who were on the employer’s payroll as at 29 February 2020, and for whom a payroll submission was made to Revenue in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020.’ Simply put this means that a mother, who was on unpaid maternity leave, who is due to return to work after March 15th 2020, would not have been on payroll at the times stipulated by the legislation. If she was not on the payroll at that stage, the legislation specifically excludes her from the temporary wage subsidy scheme. The ‘confinement of the scheme to…’ exclusively omits one group of workers from the remit of the legislation: mothers returning to work after maternity leave. If her employer informs her that she has no job to return, her employer is then in breach of the Maternity Protection Acts, and EU Legislation. While this gives her recourse to take legal action, and avail of Covid-19 payments, the capacity to do so is the reserve of those who can afford it, and a massive financial burden on a woman with no income. The reality is she now has no job and will struggle to find a reference to find another one. Her other option is to ‘voluntarily’ leave her job. However, if she ‘voluntarily’ leaves her job she is excluded from claiming the Covid-19 payment. If she ‘voluntarily’ leave her job, she must then wait nine weeks before she can apply for social welfare payments. What does she do? How would you advise your mother, wife, partner, sister, daughter or friend faced with this disgusting decision? There is no advice. This is wrong. It fails our mothers and it fails our children. Let them move from words to action ideally, by passing an amendment to the emergency legislation that extends paid maternity leave for all mothers during Covid-19. This extension to their specially protected period of leave ensures their return to work, when it is possible, while also providing some financial security. If it is not possible to extend the statutory maternity leave, including the sentence, ‘with the exception of mothers returning to the workplace during Covid-19, who were on specially protected leave when financial supports were put in place’ to the Covid-19 payment or the Temporary Wage Subsidy scheme helps. This wrong must be fixed IMMEDIATELY and let us stand together, properly, for all women. Listen to Today with Sarah McInerny on RTE, speaking to Richard Grogan to hear more.
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    Created by Sinead Brady
  • Shut down Moy Park for Covid19 Testing
    Yesterday it was reported that a female worker from East Timor, Luciana Viviana da Silva (58), who worked at Moy Park’s Dungannon site, died from coronavirus. Covid19 clusters are rising in workplaces in the meat and poultry industries, which have been recognised to be particularly high risk for workers. Action must be taken now to ensure the scale of outbreaks in meat industry in the USA and Brazil are not repeated in Northern Ireland.
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    Created by Nicola Browne
  • No Going Back - We Want an All Ireland National Health Service!
    Covid 19 made abundantly clear that our existing health services needed radical transformation to cope with the pandemic. Insufficient hospital bed capacity, too few intensive care beds, too few hospital nurses and staff, glaring structural defects accumulated over decades, as well as two separate health services on an island of 6.6 million inhabitants, were shown up as markedly inadequate. The lack of PPE and other public health resources for testing, contact tracing and protecting older people in nursing homes or health and social care workers arose from the absence of a coordinated, efficient national health service. The situation required the enactment of measures which would have been unthinkable pre-Covid 19. The budget of the Health Service Executive was expanded by €1 billion and the recruitment embargo on nurses and other key staff lifted. North and South, agreements were secured with private hospitals that they would temporarily operate as public hospitals, open to both Covid 19 and non-Covid 19 patients. In the South, patients with Covid-19 are being treated as public patients in what the caretaker Fine Gael government itself has lauded as a single national hospital service with no private-public distinction. If the extension of public healthcare can happen in a pandemic, why not also in ‘normal’ health crisis times? Why can it not be used to address the waiting lists of at least 700,000 in the South, 300,000 in the North? To address the totally inadequate step- down facilities or the lack of home care support? Or to enable everyone to have free access to GPs? The measures taken have shown that a comprehensive public health service is both possible and indispensable for providing healthcare to all when they need it. However, the Dublin government’s deal with the private hospitals, while a welcome step of making private hospitals public, is also costing the public purse €115 million a month. This continues the policy of shoring up the private sector with public money, a policy which has been shown in the North to undermine the ability of the NHS to provide timely cradle to grave treatment, free at the point of use.
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    Created by Conor Reddy
  • Extend maternity leave and maternity benefit
    In light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown maternity leave/ maternity benefit should be extended by 3 months for those who's maternity leave was affected by the lockdown. With all childcare facilities being closed many parents face issues of where to leave their babies, with facing loosing their jobs if they have nowhere to leave them. Maternity leave is time when you and baby can attend baby groups, spend time with family, attend needed appointments and with a country being in lockdown none of these things are happening. Many babies have not met their family members or met other babies to socialise in baby groups, these things are vital for baby development, bonding and educating for babies and their parents. Due to COVID-19 many of us are scared to leave our homes and bring babies outside, with the uncertainty of when this is going to end, maternity leave and maternity benefit should be extended giving families reassurance and support. Follow us on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ExtendMatLeave2020/ or on Twitter @matleave2020
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    Created by Agnes Graholska
  • Solidarity with workers on fruit farms
    That’s why we have to fight to make sure big businesses like Keelings put the health of the people who work for them at the centre of all their decisions during this pandemic. That includes a decent living wage, proper protective equipment, good working conditions, safe accommodation and the ability to social distance. Some people will try to use this to divide us. But we know better. That’s why we all need to stand with the people who work on fruit farms to push for the safe working environments every single one of us deserves.
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    Created by Shae Flanagan Picture
  • Protect 2,000 Debenhams Workers
    The decision by Debenhams management to put the company into voluntary liquidation is opportunistic and cynical. Bank of Ireland is a part-owner of the business, along with Barclays, Silver Point Capital and GoldenTree. It beggars belief that an Irish bank bailed out by the Irish taxpayer, would place a company into liquidation without any negotiations with workers on a fair redundancy package.
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    Created by Brian Forbes, Mandate Trade Union
  • #ARTSBLACKOUT - Boycott the COVID-19 Art Schemes, Demand Support for Every Arts Worker
    Link to full statement and list of demands: https://tinyurl.com/swe4f8p How to support: > Pledge to boycott the awards & the awards’ outcomes online > Support the boycott by usings our images on your social media > Share the boycott using the hashtag #ARTSBLACKOUT #COVIDARTSCRISIS Twitter - @BLACKOUT_ARTS Instagram - @Arts_Blackout In place of the schemes proposed by the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, we are issuing the following demands. We have formulated these in consultation with artists and arts workers across the sector and invite artists participating in the boycott to submit their own demands. Please email [email protected] DEMANDS 1. For the Department of Social Protection to streamline access for artists and arts workers to the COVID-19 Unemployment Payment. A letter of reference from any Irish cultural organisation or venue should be accepted as evidence of working in the sector. 2. For the Government to begin setting up a Universal Basic Income Scheme through a pilot scheme for sole traders, arts workers, the underemployed, the unemployed and the community volunteering sector. 3. For at least a €10 million COVID-19 emergency fund to be made available to the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht. 4. For the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht to seek out sustained and meaningful consultation with artists from across the sector. To initiate a far-reaching debate on the current nature of the status of the artist with a view to ensuring the sustainability of artists' careers, practices and activities, as well as artists’ freedom of expression, social and financial recognition, and individual well-being. 5. For all publicly funded COVID-19 Art Schemes to take into account the different circumstances of artists in regards to space, time, materials and favour no particular medium, style, or type of practice. For equality and inclusion to be at the centre of decision making. 6. For all publicly funded cultural organisations to honour artist payments that were contracted to take place during the COVID-19 emergency measures, regardless of the status of work 7. For the Arts Council of Ireland and Local Authority Arts Offices to introduce non-competitive awards during the crisis and distribute funds to applicants equally. 8. For the Arts Council of Ireland to release funds to finance rent on studios, rehearsal spaces, and vital production spaces, to ensure that artists are not charged rent during the COVID-19 lockdown.
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    Created by #Arts Blackout
  • Protect student renters during COVID-19 Crisis
    We need these measures implemented immediately. Students have been laid off, many cannot survive off their maintenance loans alone, while others do not receive maintenance support. They cannot apply for universal credit and university Hardship/Support Funds are only limited pots of money that cannot support students through the entirety of this crisis. Landlords and letting agencies are still expecting students renters to pay their rent, and a number of students have received emails threatening court action if they cannot afford to pay their rent. One letting agent suggested that students not paying their rent would contribute to the collapse of the global economy. Many students simply cannot pay their rent, and they cannot be left behind during this pandemic. We deserve clarity and protection from this Executive. #NoStudentLeftBehind
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    Created by Grian Ní Dhaimhín