The Health Service Executive has said the strike by junior doctors on Tuesday over working hours is avoidable if the Irish Medical Organisation returns to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme, national director of Human Resources Barry O'Brien said that management has repeatedly asked the LRC to invite the IMO to engage in talks again but they have declined that invitation.

Mr O'Brien said approximately 15,000 people will be affected by the strike on Tuesday.

He said that these people were being notified.

The HSE has said that it is endeavouring to give people an alternative date.

He said the health service was under severe pressure and is working at a very high capacity.

Assistant Director of Industrial Relations at the IMO Eric Young said that the IMO was now resigned to having to take the industrial action.

He said it was because of the failure of the HSE to "step up to the plate" in respect of the issue of sanctions.