A senior member of the HSE has suggested offering nurses chocolates in order to boost the uptake of vaccinations.
Dr Kevin Kelleher has been addressing the Oireachtas Health committee on concerns around the low level of healthcare workers vaccinated against the Flu virus.
He says the problem is predominately amongst nurses.
Dr Kelleher says international evidence suggests two successful methods.
"You need to have leadership in the institution concerned and incentives work as well.
"Be they incentives for the institution or incentives for individuals, ranging from giving them chocolates - and actually chocolates works extremely well there's some very good evidence for that - and draws for iPads and things like that work very well," he said.
The General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Liam Doran, has reacted angrily to the comments by Kevin Kelleher.
Liam Doran said it was a perfect example of why Irish nurses and midwives walked away from the Irish health sector.
Mr Doran said that that kind of comment was "absolutely objectionable" and Mr Kelleher should respect nurses' opinions and not treat them like children.
Mr Doran said he would like the uptake on the flu vaccine to be higher and he was very disappointed with Mr Kelleher with whom, he said, he had held many meetings on the matter.
He told Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 that there is a firmly held view among midwives and nurses that they do not wish to avail of the vaccines.
Leadership means not only dictating, but listening, he said, adding that nurses concerns are not being listened to.