Psychiatric nurses at St Ita's Hospital in Portrane in Co Dublin have agreed to defer industrial action until next week.

The dispute is over the Government's plan to close the acute unit at the hospital at the end of this month.

Industrial action began at the hospital at 8am but was postponed at 11.30am following agreement with the Health Service Executive to attend talks.

Members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association are to meet the HSE at the Labour Relations Commission next Thursday, 11 August.

The union says the closure of the unit will mean a loss of up to 50 beds for the area.

Bed capacity at the hospital is currently at between 80% and 100%. There were 800 admissions last year.

Last year, the Mental Health Commission ordered the closure of the unit after it was found to be unfit for purpose.

However, the union says there is no realistic alternative plan in place, as the new acute psychiatric unit at Beaumont Hospital will not be ready until 2013.

PNA Branch Secretary Michael Guilfoyle said patient care was not affected by this morning's action, which was mainly administrative disruption.