No ‘united Ireland’ clarification from RCN after 6 months

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has asked why the Royal College of Nursing six months later still hasn’t clarified whether they believe it is appropriate for the General Secretary of the College to be involved in a constitutional debate in Northern Ireland.

By Gregory Campbell MP

East Londonderry

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In August 2023, General Secretary of the RCN Pat Cullen made a contribution from the audience of an event at the West Belfast Festival entitled “The choices for Ireland” where she is reported to have said “I believe the only hope for the NHS is reunification”.

Mr Campbell wrote to the College after the event asking them to clarify whether those comments reflected a view held by the RCN. To date, despite reminders being sent, he has received no response.

The DUP MP said, “Pat Cullen like everyone else is entitled to a personal political opinion, but from her intervention at the West Belfast Festival it wasn’t clear whether she was speaking on behalf of the Royal College of Nursing.

The RCN represents staff from across the community in Northern Ireland and from every political viewpoint. Their voice has authority because it strives for the betterment of patients and our health service. I believed it was important to offer the College the opportunity to clarify their position and outline if they believe it was appropriate for one of their most senior colleagues to engage in promoting a specific constitutional viewpoint.

Having waited more than six months for a reply it is now time for the question to be aired publicly again. The question does not relate to Pat Cullen as an individual. It is about the RCN’s corporate position and whether they wish to take a particular ‘side’ in the constitutional debate in Northern Ireland or believe it is helpful to their core objectives to be seen to do so.”

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