A leading surgeon says hospital overcrowding won't be fixed by simply refusing to let healthcare staff take holidays.
The Taoiseach has suggested hospital nurses and doctors should be denied annual leave over Christmas to avoid a winter trolley crisis.
Leo Varadkar's stance has caused division among doctors and politicians, and has been criticized as lading the blame on the Health Service, and not with the government.
Kenneth Mealy, The President of the Royal College of Surgeons, described the Taoiseach's comment as "interesting".
"The issues at stake are complex, we know there is always a surge in medical need in the new year", he said.
He said that there is "clearly" a need for the appropriate staff to be in place to deal with a rise in patients.
This afternoon, the Taoiseach reaffirmed his comments that doctors should be working full whack over the Christmas break.
Speaking to Independent.ie in Finland, Leo Varadkar said "the emergency department and medical consultants should be there" in the first two weeks in January.