Nurses claim patients are being admitted to 30 new beds in Virginia Community Nursing Unit in Cavan – despite the fact that no staff have been hired to care for them.

The INMO says the move by the HSE to take in patients there in a bid deal with hospital overcrowding is reckless.

It comes following days of controversy over the numbers of patients on trolleys across the country – yesterday nurses recorded more than 500 waiting on a bed.

Industrial relations officer with the INMO is Tony Fitzpatrick: “There is obviously a need to open up, step down and clear the older facilities.

“But the key difficulty we have is that this is not a self catering arrangement.

“Even if you are bringing patients into a facility like Virginia, you need staff to look after the patients and the HSE has recruited no additional staff to look after these patients.”