Nurses say hospitals around the country are drowning in the backlog from Storm Emma.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) say their members are struggling to cope, with more than 3,000 patients recorded on hospital trolleys in the past week.
They that there have been 14 days so far this year that have seen in excess of 600 patients on trolleys.
General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha says emergency measures need to be implemented immediately to allow hospitals to recover before the Bank Holiday.
"The numbers this week have been extraordinarily high, as predicted," she said. "The HSE predicted it last weekend, as did we...The difference between us was that we sought emergency measures to be put in place to relieve the pressure on staff trying to provide the best care possible in the emergency departments."
"As far as we're concerned, that didn't happen, and the numbers are now out of control, " she said.