More than 30,000 nurses and midwives around the country are taking part in a 24-hour protest in a dispute over pay and staff shortages.

The nurses, who are members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, are on the picket line in the union’s first national strike in 20 years.

RTÉ News spoke to some of INMO members who are on strike.

INMO warns more strikes likely if pay row not settled

University Hospital Galway

Ann-Marie Kelly, who works as an ICU nurse at the hospital, said that nurses are "exhausted" from working long hours, and called for change.

Speaking on the picket line, she said that nurses do not want to be protesting, but they are left with no other option.

Mary Daniels is based in the Sexual Assault unit at the hospital, and is also calling for change. She told RTÉ News that due to staff shortages, the hospital is becoming unsafe.

"We have no choice but to make a stand", she said.

Cork University Hospital

Gerard White works as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Cork University Hospital’s Emergency Department, and said that it is very difficult to give patients a good quality of nursing.

"We do the best that we can, but we are nursing people on trolleys in corridors where they have no privacy, no dignity, and it is very difficult to give them the quality of nursing that they deserve."

Naomi O’Donovan, who works as a midwife in Cork University Maternity Hospital, said there is a recruitment and retention issue in midwifery.

She told RTÉ News: "I am of the firm belief that we need to be paid with the same rates as our allied professionals, we should have that recognition in pay."

University Hospital Limerick

Mary McCarthy works as Clinical Nurse Manager at the hospital, and said nurses feel that they are not being listened to by the Government and they feel that they have to take a stand for nursing for the future.

Meanwhile, Mary-Theresa Collins, a newly-qualified nurse, said that she is not getting the support that she should be getting and described conditions as "frightening". She says it's "very unlikely" she'll stay in Ireland.