The number of beds available in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) nationally is almost half what it should be.
That's according to general-secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), Peter Hughes.
He was responding to the closure of 11 beds in the Linn Dara CAMHS unit at Cherry Orchard Hospital in Dublin.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) says the reason for the closure is staff shortages, with 24 staff available of the 51 needed for the unit.
The beds are set to remain closed until September at least as a result.
Mr Hughes told Newstalk Breakfast a more inventive approach is needed to get and keep the staff.
"It brings the capacity nationally of 56 beds - there should be 100 beds available, in-patient beds for CAMHS.
"We have to acknowledge there is a shortage of psychiatric nurses throughout the country.
"It needs a robust workforce planning strategy, and it needs to involve all the stakeholders - including the PNA."
'Nothing has been learned'
A similar decision to close beds in this unit was made back in 2017.
Mr Hughes says issues around under-resourcing have been highlighted 'for numerous years'.
"The fact that this happened five years ago, and five years later nothing has been learned - absolutely nothing has been learned".
And he says there are several elements to the shortage.
"The main challenges at the moment in relation to CHAMS are... the international borders have opened again after COVID - so we're now seeing nurses emigrate again, where for the past two years that wasn't happening.
"We're seeing some nurses moving out of Dublin because of the cost of living; and we're also seeing the private sector offering better terms and conditions.
"So I think the Government, the HSE have to be inventive of how to attract and retain nurses - and particularly in the CAMHS services".
He has called on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to intervene.
"We really have to ask what it takes for the HSE, to realise the extent of the CAMHS crisis in the country when they can embark on the removal of these 11 beds from the system."
And Mr Hughes says the demand for CAMHS has 'dramatically increased' post-COVID.
"While PNA recognise the ongoing difficulty in the recruitment of nurses, the response of the Government and HSE cannot be to simply reduce services.
"The situation at Linn Dara is one more graphic illustration of the crisis in the recruitment and retention of psychiatric nurses, which is the direct result of poor HSE planning.
"[The] HSE must now come forward to target solutions and incentives to encourage the recruitment and retention of nurses to adequately staff CAMHS services."
He adds that this reduction in beds "will further exacerbate an already unacceptable waiting list for CAMHS".