The Psychiatric Nurses Association and the Health Service Executive are attending the Labour Court in an attempt to resolve their dispute over pay and staff shortages.

Last week's settlement of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation dispute following a Labour Court Recommendation did not cover the PNA, who had also threatened strike action.

However, their industrial action was suspended in tandem with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation to allow for further engagement.

The WRC held conciliation talks on Monday which failed to resolve all the PNA's issues.

Arriving for today's hearing, PNA General Secretary Peter Hughes said that there were « massive » staff shortages in mental health services. 

He cited yesterday's figures showing that the HSE spent €76m on agency nurses and midwives in 2018.

He noted that €47m of that was spent in Community Health Organisations, and that much of that would
Have gone to mental health services.

He also noted that there had been a €16m overtime bill in mental health services, and a 40% rise in vacancies over the last year.

He said mental health services were experiencing a severe crisis in recruitment and retention - and these were the issues that needed to be addressed.

Asked whether pay issues were still on the table, he said he would not like to comment.

The INMO is currently examining last week's Labour Court recommendation with a view to balloting on it next month.

Part of the recommendation requires a new nurses' contract including productivity concessions to be negotiated over the next two weeks.