Minister for Health James Reilly has said the recruitment programme for graduate nurses will continue and has called on the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation to engage with the Department of Health.

Responding to claims that some nurses feel they are being pressurised by the INMO not to apply, the minister said that the recruitment drive offered graduates an opportunity to stay at home, who otherwise might have to emigrate.

In relation to the INMO's approach, he said it was regrettable but the recruitment process would continue.

Asked about the posts being filled by graduates from abroad, he said that the general consensus is that the programme should be open to any graduate anywhere who wants to avail of it but particularly those from Ireland or those who went abroad to do their training and who want to come home.