The coalition has decided not to oppose a motion put forward by the Labour Party in the Dáil today calling for thousands of healthcare workers to get pay rises under the national wage agreement.
The staff who work with so-called Section 39 organisations provide services for the HSE but are not categorised as public servants and are not automatically entitled to wage increases under national pay deals.
Instead, they State pays the organisations a block grant for work done on behalf of the HSE.
Labour's spokesperson on health and disability Duncan Smith welcomed Section 39 workers from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), Fórsa and SIPTU, who followed today's debate from the Dáil's public gallery.
The three unions have been the "driving force" in the campaign "for pay justice, pay restoration and pay increases", he said.
"This is the bedrock of our health service", Deputy Smith said, warning that without their support there would be a total collapse.
"Often they are excluded from paid maternity leave, paid annual leave, pension schemes or public service pay levels", he noted recently.
"The ask is a simple one, but if delivered would have a radical impact on the lives" of those affected, the deputy added.
It requires "finding a mechanism to ensure that these workers can bargain for pay" he said.
Ivana Bacik, Labour Party leader, commended those in the gallery, saying, "You are among the heroes of Irish society".
She said that the work of Section 39 groups like Enable Ireland, the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Rehab Group is "vital".
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly also paid tribute to "the vital role" those organisations play, which "has a hugely beneficial impact on so many people", who are often "the most vulnerable" in Irish society.
"They are independently owned, they are independently run", he said of the Section 39 organisations.
"The Government doesn't have a mandate" to increase those workers' pay, he added.
"The sector has over 32,000 organisations" Minister Donnelly said, adding that it is "hugely diverse" and "complex".
He thanked Deputy Smith for tabling the "important" motion, which he said the Government would not be opposing.