90% of nurses belonging to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation have voted to take industrial action, including one-day stoppages, in a dispute over staff shortages, recruitment and retention and working conditions.
The industrial action would also include a work-to-rule and nurses refusing to work beyond their rostered hours.
In addition, nurses would refuse to be redeployed from one ward to another during their working day.
There would be no cross cover by community nurses.
The industrial action is unlikely to commence before the end of January.
INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said that the HSE is currently 3,500 nurses short of the staffing level that existed in 2009 - at a time when the health service is busier than ever.
He said that efforts by the HSE to recruit additional nurses had failed, and there was a need to come up with special measures - including financial incentives - to address the shortages which were resulting in wards being closed.
In a statement following the announcement, the Minister for Health said "industrial action is not the solution" to "challenges" facing the health service.
Simon Harris said "It will not reduce the numbers of patients on trolleys in Emergency Departments, will not reduce the waiting lists or improve service delivery and could lead to the cancellation of elective surgeries."
A spokesperson for the HSE said it was disappointed at the outcome of the ballot.
He said a lot of effort had been made to date to address the current difficulties.
They hope the dispute can be resolved and that strike action can be prevented through labour relations mechanisms.
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