Only 36 turn up as nursing recruitment drive begins
An HSE drive to recruit nurses attracted only 36 hopefuls on the first of three days in Dublin.
The employment initiative at Dr Steevens' Hospital in Dublin 8 was billed as an event to attract nurses and midwives and it was hoped it would tempt those working as nurses and living abroad back home.
The post-Christmas initiative was attended by just 36, but the HSE expects around 80 jobseekers over the three days.
Despite the initial low turnout, Rosario Mannion, national director for HR at the HSE, said she is hopeful for the remaining two days of the recruitment drive.
"We are primarily interested in Irish nurses at home for Christmas who may be interested in relocating back home."
Rebecca Hannon (32), from Templeogue, trained as a nurse in Dublin before moving to London to train as a midwife. She attended the event and hopes to return home for good.
"I've been in London for five years," she said. "But I'm home for Christmas and all my friends and family are here and London is a busy city, so I'm ready for a slower pace. My partner is ready to move with me from London."
Midwife Susan Leahy (30), from Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, said: "Today was very helpful. I am in London and looking for opportunities to come home.
"I've been there since 2009 and I came home for Christmas and I want to come home to stay.
"It's about being near family. My daughter, Lilly is 16 months, so I want to be near my parents."
Ms Mannion said permanent contracts. "We are providing career coaching and excellent pension entitlements and we really want to retain the excellent nurses we have trained in the Irish health sector.
"Unfortunately, during the years of austerity, we weren't in a position to offer permanent contracts and we lost many of our young graduates and recruits and we want to change that cycle," she said.
"It will take a number of years, it's not a quick fix but certainly over the next two to three years we hope we can change the dynamic for nursing."
Eighteen nurses had scheduled appointments yesterday and another 18 walked in off the street to the hospital but Ms Mannion believes the process will be worthwhile regardless of if huge numbers turn up.
"Over the course of the three days we have 80 nurses registered. Even if we get a small number of nurses in the system it is worth it."
The HSE is offering a relocation package of €1,500 and a salary of €35,000.
Ms Mannion said the pay package is only part of the allure. "It's not all about the money - it's about the family connections, returning to the local communities."