Nurses and midwives are calling for the government to provide direct childcare for frontline healthcare workers.
It comes as the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says its members are experiencing "intolerable pressure" due to the coronavirus crisis.
The union says many healthcare workers are unable to attend work because they have to look after their children, meaning that rostering and staffing have become "increasingly difficult".
They are also concerned that informal childcare networks - such as friends and family - are becoming less viable due to social and physical distancing measures.
Many grandparents are currently being advised to 'cocoon' in their homes, while travel is also significantly restricted.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said providing childcare is the "least that can be done" to support frontline workers currently being asked to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
She said: “9 out of 10 nurses and midwives are women. Our members cover 24/7 shifts. Childcare has always been a major practical issue in our professions.
“COVID-19 means ensuring we have as many nurses and midwives on the frontline as possible. That is being increasingly compromised due to a lack of childcare."
She said her union has told the HSE and government that the situation must be "dealt with immediately".