Minister for Health Simon Harris has said that all graduating nurses and midwives will be offered full-time contracts.

Speaking at the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation annual conference in Wexford, Mr Harris said the health service will be writing directly to each of the student nurses in the coming days to tell them this and outline the next steps.

He said the health service is also committed to the conversion of agency employed staff into Health Service Executive direct employees.

Mr Harris said nurses and midwives have gone through an incredibly difficult number of years.

He said that after years of cuts, Ireland can now begin to plan for the opposite.

Earlier, the INMO said its members are in despair and do not trust the HSE to deliver on promises.

INMO president Martina Harkin-Kelly said nurses and midwives feel patronised by the health system. She said nurses welcome the HSE three year workforce plan.

However, Ms Harkin-Kelly said Minister Harris had been forced to require the HSE to report back to the Oireachtas every three months on how it is meeting the promise to recruit 1,200 nurses and midwives by the end of the year.

She said the priority is to make sure nurses that are trained in Ireland stay here and employers need to approach graduates early to offer posts.

A special presentation was made to the organisation's general secretary Liam Doran who is retiring after 35 years working for the union.