Patients at Cork University Hospital have described the conditions during the nursing and midwifery strike as critical but say they support the action.
Hundreds of nurses and midwives took to the streets today in front of CUH and the Mercy to highlight pay disparity and poor working conditions in the sector.
Patients may have been directly impacted by the strike action of nurses and midwives in Cork today, but many were in support of the action.
Simon Cody, from Killa, has been a patient in CUH for the past three weeks.
“It's critical in the hospital at the moment, absolutely critical,” he said.
“There are 35 beds full in the ward I'm in and there's only two nurses at the moment.
“It's very busy,” he added.
“This strike shouldn't have to happen for nurses to get the pay they deserve.
“When An Garda Siochana wanted a pay rise they got it and they were going to hold the country to ransom for it.
“The nurses are run off their feet in here every day and they deserve better pay and conditions.
“If I was fit and able, I’d be out there marching with them,” said Mr Cody.
“It's hectic in there at the moment,” said Steven Murphy from Kinsale who arrived at the Emergency Department today by ambulance.
“I came in at 6am to the Emergency Department this morning and was waiting five or six hours before I was seen.
“It's very busy there,” he added.
“If they're overworked they definitely need more pay and there needs to be more staff.
“I'd be worried that the strikes next week will have a big impact on the hospitals.
“If there are very little nurses, there's not much getting done.”
Finola Finn, a former employee at CUH and a recent patient at the hospital recalled the previous strike in 1980.
“It was deemed an unofficial strike in the end and we had to go back to work but we've fought so much down through the years,” she said.
“There has been a lot of progress but it's a shocking disgrace that nurses are being forced to go to the streets to get the attention they deserve.
“The expertise is here in Ireland and in CUH, I can't praise them enough, but I saw the pressure the nurses face at the coal face when I was here as a patient recently,” she added.
“They're under so much pressure.
“I know finances are a huge issue but surely we're entitled to a good health service which relies on nurses, who are the backbone.
“If we don't reward our nurses and keep them, we'll fall to pieces.”