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As of late September, Unite trade union was “approaching” the number of GP members required to establish a GP branch, the Medical Independent (MI) understands.
In May, it was announced that the NAGP had entered into voluntary liquidation. However, the Association said its trade union section in the form of the Alliance of Family Doctors (AFD) had begun talks with Unite regarding GP representation.
“We would be approaching that number now (50) but have not taken the formal steps necessary to establish the branch yet,” Mr Brendan Ogle, Republic of Ireland Senior Officer for Unite, told MI on 20 September. An update was not received by press time.
However, there was scepticism about the Unite-AFD agreement among some GPs contacted by this newspaper.
Clare TD and GP Dr Michael Harty questioned the plan of “hitching your wagon, if you like, to an existing trade union [Unite], which may not have the necessary understanding or the ability to negotiate effectively for GPs”.
IMO President and Longford GP Dr Padraig McGarry said “doctors need to make their own decisions on such matters”.
“They need to base their decision in a business-like manner. I am confident that GPs aren’t foolish. They will look at the choice available to them; they should decide who will represent them in a business-like way. It’s not a beauty contest.”
As MI previously reported, Unite will not be able to represent GPs on employment contracts unless 80 per cent of all GPs in Ireland join the union.