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17 January 2018

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Government must ensure fairness for Section 39 Agency Workers says Gerry Adams TD

Gerry Adams joined other Sinn Féin TD's at the SIPTU demonstration for pay restoration outside Leinster House this afternoon

"If these services are further reduced or removed the citizens they care for will be condemned to a lesser quality of life. The state will also have to pick up the tab as they end up in hospital or in other over-stretched services" - Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams TD, has advised Tánaiste Simon Coveney that his government must act soon to set up a process for pay restoration for the staff of Section 39 agencies, in the Dáil this afternoon. 

Workers in areas such as hospices and disability organisations, who are included in Section 39, had their funding cut by a Fianna Fáil led government in 2010 and again by the Fine Gael led government in 2012. 

Following this, frontline staff had their pay cut in line with public service workers and they also lost their increments.

The restoration of their pay has now been refused by the Government. Teachta Adams expressed his disappointment at the refusal and described it as “bad economics” and “absolutely unfair” for the workers involved.

Teachta Adams said: “Section 39 agencies provide a range of vital care for citizens living with disabilities, in need of hospice care, rehabilitation services and a whole range of health services.

“If these services are further reduced or removed the citizens they care for will be condemned to a lesser quality of life. The state will also have to pick up the tab as they end up in hospital or in other over-stretched services. The crisis in Section 39 agencies has now reached a tipping point.

“The government needs to put in place a process for pay restoration for the staff of Section 39 agencies.”

The agencies involved have planned a strike for February 14th, which, if it goes ahead, will compound the crises and compromise the care for vulnerable citizens.

The Sinn Féin TD for Louth has called on the government to sit down with the Unions representing these workers to work-out a positive and fair resolution.

Teachta Adams continued: “One of the privileges of being a TD is that we meet with many people, carers and groups in the voluntary and community sector who provide services for our citizens.

“These are services that should, in the first instance, be provided by the state and I want to commend everyone for this outstanding work.”

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