Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) President Jack O'Connor has warned that the kind of unity necessary for Ireland to overcome its current economic difficulties will not happen without the involvement of the trade union movement.
Speaking ahead of an address to the ICTU biennial delegate conference in Killarney in Co. Kerry today, Mr O'Connor said that what is required is a forum for engagement between the Government, employers and unions.
But on the issue of social partnership, he said its benefits were limited.
"I won't lose a whole lot of sleep over so-called social partnership," Mr O'Connor said.
"There were some benefits for working people in it… there were no benefits for trade unions as institutions.
"But we won't emerge from the difficulties we are in unless the country is united.
"What is required here is a supreme national effort."