Hundreds of Irish nurses and other healthcare professionals attended a health sector jobs fair at the RDS in Dublin today.

This is the second year the event has been organised.

Just over 50 hospitals and health care providers from Ireland, the UK, and as far afield as Australia had jobs on offer.

The jobs ranged from nurses, junior doctors, physiotherapists and other health related professions.

Among the prospective Irish employers attending the fair are University Hospital Galway, Tallaght Hospital and St Vincent's University Hospital, along with a mix of private hospitals, nursing and respite homes.

One of the top five children's hospitals in the world, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, is looking to recruit Irish nurses to meet its growing healthcare staffing needs.

It is to open a new 355-bed facility in 2017, which will mean a doubling of the hospital recruitment requirements.

The jobs fair comes at a time when Irish hospitals are struggling to fill positions, with around 140 vacancies in emergency departments across the country.

Irish hospital representatives admitted today, that despite a HSE recruitment campaign, they were finding it difficult to fill vacancies, with jobs abroad holding more appeal to the health sector workers.

Liam Doran of the Irish Nurses' and Midwives Organisation has described the staffing issue at Irish hospitals as "critical".

He said Irish healthcare workers were highly sought after. The difficulty lay in the fact that hospitals were already short-staffed and that healthcare professionals were not being attracted back to Ireland, he said.