Over 35,000 nurses and midwives began their 24 hour strike this morning. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Association voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action last month.

Today they are striking between 8am today and 8am Thursday for better pay and to tackle issues of recruitment and retention in their sector.

This is the union’s first official national strike in almost two decades with INMO’s 37,000 members taking to the picket line this morning outside hospitals and health care facilities across Ireland.

Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation on Twitter

Picketing begins at Connolly Hospital! #StandwithNurses #StandWithMidwives

The Organisation has said that staff retention issues can only be resolved by pay alignment with other health professionals, their petition states that the HSE cannot recruit more nurses and midwives on the current wage.

25,000 medical appointments have been cancelled today due to the strikes and as a result the HSE is appealing to people not to attend emergency departments unless absolutely necessary.

The Labour Court says that it can’t intervene in the dispute, it’s up to the INMO and the HSE to resolve it.

Another round of strikes have already been planned for next.