Members of the Fórsa Trade Union working in the community and voluntary sector - delivering disability, homeless and other services - have held a rally in Galway calling for fair pay and better funding for the sector.
There is now a crisis in the sector according to President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Kevin Callinan, who addressed the rally of about 200 people at Spanish Arch.
Mr Callinan said the Government needs to step up to pay staff fairly and properly fund services.
He said the State has relied for far too long on the community and voluntary sector to provide basic public services.
The lack of funding, he said, is affecting the ability of services to attract and retain staff.
He said a Fórsa report showed a 30% turnover of staff in a single year and the high attrition of staff is having an impact on services.
One social care worker attending the rally, Rachel, said: "We are campaigning for better funding for our services because we are struggling to recruit talented social care professionals, people who could add real and lasting value to the services we provide.
"We need proper funding and that is the responsibility of the HSE and the Government."
This afternoon's rally was organised by the Galway branch of Fórsa as part of a national campaign on the issues of fair pay and funding.
The aim of the rally was to highlight "pay inequality, recruitment difficulties and growing waiting lists in the community and voluntary sector, where thousands of care professionals are employed in organisations funded by the HSE and other state agencies to deliver specialist care services".
Fórsa said balloting for industrial action is already under way in a number of specific employments in Cork, Kerry and Galway as part of the campaign.