A cabinet minister has suggested overcrowding in hospitals would be even worse if the government hadn't taken action before Christmas.
Paschal Donohoe says the government is making every effort to offer greater capacity for hospitals, including by helping patients be discharged into nursing homes.
Earlier the INMO named the seven emergency departments which would be affected by strike action next week - Beaumont, Cavan, Mercy Hospital Cork, Galway, Tallaght, Tullamore and Waterford.
Minister Donohoe says the situation in those hospitals would be worse, but for the government's actions.
"I know that Beaumont deals with a huge number of patients, a huge number of cases each day, but this is the very reason why we did put additional investment in place.
"In the run up to January, in the run up to this period, to put more beds in our hospitals and to put more facilities in place across our country."
Sinn Féin however disagrees and is calling on Minister Leo Varadkar to resign.
Pearse Doherty says if in power his party has a plan to solve the problem.
"This is a scandal that isn't just rolling out, and a crisis that isn't just being seen in A&E, but right across the health sector.
"What we need is a plan, unfortunately for the Irish people this government doesn't have a plan but Sinn Fein does.
"The people need to be given the opportunity to elect a government, to elect a party, that has a plan and that has the political will to put the investment that is necessary into addressing this crisis."