The country’s newest GP organisation, the National Association of General Practitioners, has secured a negotiating licence by entering into a cooperative arrangement with the Independent Workers Union of Ireland (IWU).

At the Association’s annual general meeting in Limerick over the weekend, delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed agreement. Acceptance of the deal was met with rapturous applause from members.

The agreement will see both organisations continue to operate as independent entities while sharing resources and the IWU negotiating licence.

NAGP CEO, Chris Goodey said: “This deal means that the NAGP can now take its place at the negotiating table to ensure that general practice is protected and recognised for its important role in health care delivery. Minister Varadkar has previously said that he could not engage formally with the Association because we did not have a negotiating licence. That issue has now been addressed and the NAGP looks forward to participating fully in the negotiating process.”

Members commended the NAGP Executive for seeking out the arrangement. AGM delegates described the deal as “a brilliant strategy” and one member said he was “gobsmacked at the lateral thinking and ingenuity” shown by organisation’s leaders.

The NAGP has already applied to the Department of Jobs for an independent negotiating licence on the basis that it has achieved the required membership figure of more than 1,000. However, the licensing process can take up to 18 months and there is no obligation on the Department to award a licence.

The IWU has over 1,200 members and seven branches around the country. The alliance between the NAGP and the IWU will operate similarly to that which governed the former Federated Workers Union of Ireland, one of the founding unions of SIPTU.


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