Student nurses on work placements across the country should be paid for helping to fight the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Fianna Fáil TD in Kerry.
Norma Foley says she has been in contact with nurses on placement who say they are working the same hours as qualified staff but without pay.
Most colleges have deferred student placements but that is not the case for many trainee nurses.
Norma Foley says they should receive pay given the unique and dangerous nature of the current situation.
"However, several student nurses have not had their placements suspended and are now working on the front line of this crisis.
“Student placements in other disciplines in third level colleges have been suspended but this is not the case for many trainee nurses.
“They are working in difficult situations without any pay and many have concerns about how they will pay their rents and bills.
"These trainees deserve to be paid like all other nurses during the Covid-19 period.
“Medical staff on the front line are doing extraordinary work in hospitals across the country and they are to be commended for their dedication.
A recruitment drive is being launched today to bolster staff numbers in the HSE after it confirmed it expects up to 355 daily new cases from Sunday onwards.