Sligo Nurses Walk Out In Strike Action

In spite of last minute negotiations, nurses at a leading hospital are today taking industrial action.

Sligo General Hospital has been hit by the action as the nursing staff are staging a one-day strike.

Some 240 members of the Irish Nurses Organisation and SIPTU are taking part in the day of action, which started at 8am this morning.

Talks between the unions and management over staffing levels broke down last night without agreement.

It is understood that a number of patients will now have to be transferred to other hospitals during the strike and a number of appointments and elective surgeries have been cancelled.

Members of the public have been advised only to attend the hospital in cases of emergency.

The Health Service Executive and hospital management have both criticised the move, but the Industrial Relations Officer with the INO, Noel Treanor, told RTE that nurses are being forced to take action to secure better patient services.

The dispute centres on staffing levels in the hospital and the laying-off of nurses on contracts.

The Irish Nurses Organisation (INO), which represents most nurses in the hospital, said that to date 14 nurses have been 'let go' and possibly another 20 will go over the next month.

The decision that 97% of INO members in Sligo General Hospital had voted in favour of industrial action was announced at the INO Annual Delegate Conference in Killarney last week.

Noel Treanor said at the time: "There is no question but that the nurses who have been released from their contracts to date are necessary and integrated frontline workers.

"To dismiss them, as the HSE have done, shows scant regard for patient care and with further plans to close wards, this crisis can only deepen."


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