More than 1,000 internships will be available to medical graduates in Ireland this year.

This afternoon, 197 medical students from University College Cork (UCC) were conferred during an online ceremony. 

The class of 2020 was addressed by the Taoiseach via video at the graduation, which was brought forward to get more doctors into the field during this pandemic. 

"We need you to graduate early and start work as interns early, because there's so much work to be done," he said. 

Some of the students will be starting work in hospitals and community settings next month. 

Mr Varadkar said that "for the first time ever", over 1,000 medical internships are available this year, meaning "pretty much everyone graduating this year" will be offered one. 

The Taoiseach asked students from overseas to stay in Ireland to work. 

"We'd love you to stay to work in our health service for the next year and build your career in Ireland," he said. 

Mr Varadkar said that in the past "we haven't been as fair to doctors from overseas as we may have been" and that's something he wants to change. 

The Taoiseach said that while he wants new graduates to travel in future, he also wants them to return to Ireland. 

"We also want you to come back again, to build your career here with us as we, in the aftermath of this crisis, seek to build a much better health service," he said. 

Today's conferring ceremony was the first one to be carried out entirely online in UCC's 175 year history.