More than 70 nurses took part in a hour long protest at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda to highlight concerns over the number of patients on trolleys in the Emergency Department.

The Health Service Executive has said it is working with staff to address the pressures in the department.

SIPTU has called on the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to lift the recruitment embargo on nursing staff and healthcare assistants.

INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said more beds in the hospital and community are also needed.

Earlier, Tony Fitzpatrick, Industrial Relations Officer for the INMO in the North-East, said the protest was not industrial action.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said it was a first step to highlight the problems that exist in the hospital.

He said during July of this year there could be as many as 40 or 50 admitted patients waiting for a bed within the Emergency Department.

He said INMO members were concerned that it is extremely overcrowded, they are short-staffed, and there are grave difficulties in providing quality care to patients.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the hospital has significant nursing and midwifery staffing deficits.

Management at the hospital have agreed to meet INMO representatives on Friday.

Mr Fitzpatrick said management had only agreed to meet on Friday because of the highlighting of the issue via the media, and because the protest was being held today.