A group of Irish paramedics has announced they will not be returning to their home country unless their employers are given a pay rise.
The doctors and nurses have been on strike for the past three weeks over pay rises and poor working conditions.
The International Union of Medical Assistants (IUMA) has been calling on its members to return to their country of origin.
It said the current system is unsustainable and that it was only through concerted action by Irish politicians and public bodies that improvements could be made.
In an exclusive interview with RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Patrick Byrne, president of the International Union, said the strike had been “a wake-up call for the Irish Government and the Irish profession”.
The Irish Government has been criticised for not providing enough help to the Irish health service as well as for not tackling the root causes of the problem, he said.
“This is the biggest strike that has been staged in the past decade.
There has been a lot of bad news.
There are some big things coming out of this strike that we haven’t had to deal with yet.”
Dr Byrne said he was hopeful the strike would result in a better working environment for his members.
“We want the Irish government to get on board and do the right thing.
I believe that it is in the best interest of our members to do so,” he said, adding that his members were in no danger of being fired if they stayed at home.”
The Irish government needs to look at the Irish economy.
We are an export-oriented economy and the main issue is that we export to other countries.
There is a lot at stake.”
If they are not going to do the things that are needed to ensure the future of the Irish medical profession, then it will be in the hands of the British Government.
That’s why the Irish people are standing up.
“Dr Rory O’Brien, from the National Health Service (NHS), said the government must act now to address the health service crisis.”
There is a massive shortfall in the health system and we have a serious crisis in the system,” he told RTÉ News.”
It is the first time in my lifetime that I have seen a health service collapse like this.
“A lot of doctors and patients in Ireland are working under a very difficult situation.
They have no insurance, they are unable to travel, they have no access to public transport, and they are often in dire financial situations.”
When a health system fails like this, you are not just dealing with a crisis but a crisis of public confidence.
That has got to be addressed.