Talks aimed at averting the closure of one-sixth of the country's child and adolescent mental health service (CAMS) beds next week have failed to produce a solution.
A spokesperson for the Psychiatric Nurses' Association, which attended the talks with Health Service Executive management, said the executive had rejected the union's proposal that a one-off incentive payment be made to new nurse recruits to avert the closure of 11 of the 22 beds at the Linn Dara centre in west Dublin.
It is understood that the PNA appealed to the HSE to make a one-off payment of approximately €3,000 to each recruit who would undertake to work in the facility for 12 months.
The sum is said to be similar to that being paid to psychiatric nurses in the private St Patrick's Hospital in Dublin.
The PNA spokesperson said the HSE told its representatives at this afternoon's meeting in the Linn Dara facility that there is a waiting list of 20 adolescents and children for residential places there.
Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health Helen McEntee, earlier this week, conceded that next week 11 of the 22 beds at the Linn Dara centre in west Dublin will be temporarily closed for the summer because of a shortage of psychiatric nurses.
Seventeen of the 34 nursing posts at the residential centre are currently occupied.
If the 11 beds on the Cherry Orchard Hospital campus are formally closed, the total complement of beds available to CAMS will fall from 63 to 52.
Minister McEntee has emphasised that any discharges from the centre are exclusively for clinical reasons, adding that in recent weeks, as patients were discharged, their beds were not refilled, leaving Linn Dara with just half of its 22 beds occupied.
She said intensive efforts have been under way to maintain services at the residential facility and appealed to psychiatric nurses to consider coming to work there.
The minister also appealed to the Psychiatric Nurses' Association to do everything possible to encourage its members to help the Government deal with the staffing difficulties.