The Minister for Health James Reilly has said he understands nurses' concerns, because many health service reforms will bite this year.
Mr Reilly addressed around 360 delegates from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation in Killarney today where he received a mixed response.
He told nurses that Ireland is no longer in control of its own finances, and the Troika's spotlight is on the health budget as it is the second biggest spending department.
Afterwards an Irish nurse, living and working in London, called for the public sector recruitment embargo to be lifted so that he and his colleagues can come home.
Oliver Allen from Ballyfermot in Dublin said he wants to return to Ireland, but he cannot find a job.
He interrupted Minister James Reilly's press briefing at the INMO conference and managed to secure a few quick words with him.