herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Budget spending spree to see more jobs for gardai, teachers and nurses

Simon Harris
Simon Harris

A recruitment drive for hundreds of key public sector workers will begin in the wake of Budget 2017 as funding is expected for nurses, gardai and teachers.

The Herald has learned that Tuesday's Budget will provide funding for at least 1,000 new nurses, 800 gardai and 650 teachers.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has received clearance to hire 800 trainee gardai next year.

The new batch of recruits will go some way to supplying the 3,200 recruits demanded by Fianna Fail in exchange for their support for the minority government.

Since the garda college re-opened two years ago, 1,200 cadets have begun training. The next batch of recruits will enter Templemore in mid-2017.

Meanwhile, under-pressure primary schools are set to receive the majority of the 650 new teachers.

As the separate recruitment drives get under way in the justice, education and health departments, Health Minister Simon Harris' focus will remain on attracting new nurses to the HSE.

Of the 1,000 nursing jobs, the majority will be full-time permanent staff who will replace agency workers.

Overseas

In the past year, 585 additional nurses have signed up with the HSE, but the body still has serious issues attracting and retaining staff.

It is already running a campaign to bring back hundreds of nurses who are currently working overseas, though Mr Harris told a Dail committee last month that only 83 nurses have returned.

Childcare remains a key issue for the Budget, and it is hoped that the details of the final package can be ironed out in the coming days.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said yesterday that the childcare budget package will respond to "the many needs raised within Ireland at the moment, and we can only do that inside the resources available to us".

"Tackling affordability and quality of childcare has long been recognised now as an issue that more progress needs to be made on," he said.

"We are going to make progress on that next week, I believe, and I'm now in the process of working with Children's Minister Katherine Zappone to finalise how we will do that.

"As is the case with every other budgetary matter we've discussed, we won't be able to make progress on all the needs our country has."

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