Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Deputy General Secretary David Hughes has said it will take legal action against the HSE for paying intern nurses less than the minimum wage, if it fails to act to rectify the situation.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Hughes said that in addition to being wilfully in breach of minimum wage legislation, the HSE is now seeking to increase interns' working hours.

Mr Hughes said that the organisation has made a representation to Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin.

He said that interns' wages have been cut to the extent that they are being paid 50% less than nurses.

The INMO had been in discussions with the HSE about the matter, he said, adding that on 9 July the HSE acknowledged it was in breach of the minimum wage.