A promise that Simon Harris made to student nurses may come back to haunt him, after he joined the government in voting against paying student nurses in placement during the Covid crisis. 

Earlier this year, the then Minister for Health has announced that student nurses would be paid for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis.

Back in March, RTÉ reported: In a statement this evening, the minister said student nurses and midwives will be offered a contract as a Healthcare Assistant and be paid for their work.

He said this will allow students to complete their placement and continue to complete the course.
Student nurses are being asked to apply online through HSE.ie/oncall.

The minister said: “This is an offer and not an obligation. But I know so many of our student nurses want to play their role as we navigate our way through these difficult times.

“Our healthcare professionals have shown immense leadership and I will do everything I can to support them.

But last night Harris joined his Government colleagues in voting against pay for student nurses.

Aontú’s Peadar Tóibín’ last night described the broken promise as “tight-fisted” and “cheap”.

Student nurses wondered: “How fast can we go abroad? Why would we even want to be nurses now when no one cares about us?”


A tweet by Harris from November  resurfaced accompanied by a great many frustrated and angry comments.

“Simon Harris wrote this tweet 3 days ago, then today voted against paying student nurses on placement,” said one comment.


Deputy Tóibín said that Twitter might need to fact-check tweets from Minister Harris in the future, and that the government was “virtue-signalling on Twitter” while failing those working in the health service.