Nurses have accused the Government of playing "Russian roulette" with people's lives in overcrowded hospitals hit by swingeing cuts.
Emergency ward staff from the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick have picketed the Dail, warning that patients up and down the country are being treated like animals.
After three work stoppages at the A&E unit in the last three weeks, 80 nurses protested in Dublin to demand Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Health Minister Dr James Reilly review resources.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and Siptu appealed for nurses from hospitals all over Ireland to campaign against cuts and warned people are in danger of dying due to overcrowding.
Kerry McAuliffe, an emergency nurse of 28 years, said patients in Limerick were being treated like animals in deplorable conditions.
"The Government needs to stop playing Russian roulette with their lives and realise that they aren't just numbers, they are human beings," she said.
The emergency department at Limerick is being used to accommodate an overspill of patients waiting to be admitted to wards on top of its usual A&E responsibilities.
Letters demanding Health and Safety Executive (HSE) intervention and a review of hospital resources were handed in to the Taoiseach and Dr Reilly.
INMO industrial relations officer Mary Fogarty said the main aim of the protest was to secure safe care for patients.
Talks aimed at preventing further work stoppages and resolving the overcrowding issue ended unsuccessfully last week at the Labour Relations Commission.