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Wednesday 15 th   May  - Ambulance personnel members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) from around the country protested at Leinster House, Kildare St. today (Wednesday 15 th May) at 1 p.m. for a second time in demand  of their right to be represented by the PNA as the union of their choice. Today's  protest will initiate a new campaign of  escalating industrial action with two 24 hour strikes in the coming weeks,  with  one taking place in the week beginning 27 th   May, and the second in the week beginning 3rd June.

Peter Hughes, PNA General Secretary said PNA ambulance branch members were again bringing their protest to Leinster House to ensure that politicians hear the strength of resolve and determination that the members  have to secure the basic right to join and  be represented by a recognised trade union.

‘That this dispute has been allowed by the HSE to fester and drag on for over a year is a disgrace. This is especially so when the HSE has refused invitations to the WRC and calls from across the political divide to recognise the wishes of ambulance personnel and end this unnecessary dispute. The unanimous support shown at our  PNA Annual Delegate Conference in Wexford in recent weeks was heartening, and confirms that this dispute is not going away until the rights of ambulance personnel are respected and vindicated.'

Sinead McGrath,  PNA Ambulance Branch Chairwoman, said:

‘The refusal of the HSE to accept the rights of hundreds of ambulance personnel - including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians -    to join and be represented by the PNA , a trade union with over 40 years standing in the health and social care sectors, must be of concern to all trade unionists.  The wider trade union movement should wake up to the fundamental wrong that is being done to my members in denying them the right to organise within a trade union that they believe will better address the huge issues for workers in the ambulance service.'

‘As our industrial action moves in the next few weeks to 24 hour strikes the HSE is playing a dangerous game in trying to force hundreds of frontline ambulance personnel and paramedics into trade unions that they do not want to be members of. It is time for the HSE to stop this tactic and respect the wishes of dedicated frontline paramedics to be members of PNA.'

Media Contact: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535