The Irish Nurses' and Midwives' Organisation has decided not to go ahead with a feared strike.

Its executive council has instead decided to continue talks with HSE and the Department of Health in a bid to resolve their concerns for staffing levels and working conditions.

The INMO hads last week warned hospital management that they had one week to respond to nurses' concerns or face industrial action at hospitals like Letterkenny University Hospital.

A spokeswoman said it will now meet again on Monday, January 30, to "review progress on discussions, with management, on the critical issues of staffing, recruitment, retention".

She added: "It is expected that further, intensive, discussions will then take place.

"In this context, the INMO council decided to defer making any decision, with regard to the timeframe for industrial action, to allow time for further discussions, involving the Department of Health and HSE and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which began last Thursday, January 12, 2017."

INMO president Martina Harkin-Kelly said: “This is the last chance for health service management to demonstrate they understand the extent of the problem and come forward with concrete proposals, under the headings of staffing, recruitment, retention, which will begin resolving this deepening crisis."

INMO general secretary Liam Doran added: “The INMO, while affording management the opportunity to engage and bring forward all initiatives necessary to address the crisis, will continue, at workplace level, to prepare for industrial action to protect the health and safety of our members.

"Any such action will involve, as per the 90 per cent mandate obtained from members, a mixture of individual days of strike action, augmented by a continuous work to rule, in all health service workplaces/areas."

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