Hospital patients are experiencing significant disruption as healthcare support workers continue their 24-hour strike, which started at 8am today.
Pickets were mounted at hospitals around the country, including Our Lady's Hospital, Navan where spirits were high on the picket line this morning.
The strike action centres on a dispute between the workers and the HSE over what the trade union, SIPTU, says is the failure to grant pay increases for its members, arising from a job evaluation scheme.
The workers affected include those in portering, household and catering services, as well as health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, chefs and surgical instrument technicians.
An initial strike by workers last week was postponed to allow talks at the Workplace Relations Commission to take place on Monday.
SIPTU has threatened to carry out three further days of strikes next week and to ballot 20 more hospitals if their demands are not met.
SIPTU's health divisional organiser Paul Bell said the union would prefer a negotiated settlement that did not impact on patient services.
“Unfortunately, we have run out of time and too many issues remain unresolved,” he added.
The HSE said it regretted that the industrial action was being taken.