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Fintan O’Toole: Ireland’s lack of sick pay helps virus to spread

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A friend of mine works for the HSE. And she has no entitlement to sick pay. Like tens of thousands of other workers in the health system, she is employed through an agency, so her rights are limited. This anomaly exemplifies a much larger problem in the official response to the pandemic. All the emphasis is on personal responsibility. The real-life conditions that shape behaviour are largely ignored.

It is wrong to go to work if you are feeling ill. But you can’t just choose to stay at home. You need rights, protections, security, a replacement income – and those are social and political creations, not personal options.  

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