Psychiatric nurses are taking part in joint lunchtime protests this afternoon at St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny and University Hospital Waterford.

The protests are to highlight overcrowding and staffing levels at the two acute mental health admission units.

The nurses, who are members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, are demanding the provision of new and expanded community services, more rigorous management of beds, long stay beds and an end to understaffing.

PNA industrial relations officer Michael Hayes said that despite increased overcrowding and mounting staff shortages in UHW and Kilkenny, there have been no realistic proposals from management to address the issues facing mental health services in the South East. 

Mr Hayes said nurses have been left with no option but to mount today's protests.