There should be a zero-tolerance approach to healthcare workers who refuse a coronavirus vaccine.
That is according to the CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland, Tadhg Daly, who said he would back Government legislation if they moved to make it mandatory.
He said a risk assessment is conducted where a staff member does not agree to a vaccination.
But he told The Hard Shoulder he does not consider it appropriate for staff to refuse the jab.
"The advice that we've received obviously is that it's not mandatory - clearly what we'll have to do then is do a risk assessment.
"In any case, in any work employment - whether it's COVID or indeed any other challenges - one has to do a risk assessment, so that will inform [the] next steps ultimately.
"But I personally would feel that no, it's not appropriate.
"I think that as a society we should have a zero-tolerance in some respects towards the vaccination, particularly given what we've been through as a society and as a country over the last 12 months".
"If the legislators were to move and legislate for COVID vaccination, then that is something that we would absolutely support".
Mr Daly was speaking after managers at two Dublin nursing homes said they organised raffles and cash prizes as part of their efforts to encourage staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The director of nursing at the homes said she believed the vaccines should be mandatory, as there are still over 30 staff members who have opted not to get vaccinated.
Alison Woods - the director of nursing in Ailsbury and Ashbury private nursing homes in Dublin - earlier told Lunchtime Live that 85% of their staff are patient-facing, so there's limited capacity for redeployment.
She said: "We had a good uptake, but in my view it could have been better. We had around 170 employees - in total 36 have opted not to get the vaccine. There is opportunity for them to change their mind in the coming weeks.
"There's fear from some of them, anyway - fear in relation to the long-term effects - and some would be hoping to have children in the next year.
"Some of them I would say are valid from that perspective… but others have had their children, and are frontline nurses. I genuinely believe it should be mandatory."
On this, Mr Daly said: "It's news to me to be honest with you".
"What I'm hearing from right across the country since the commencement of the vaccination programme is the opposite."
'People very anxious to get the vaccine'
He said there have been "huge, huge numbers" of uptake right across the sector.
"You'll be aware from your programmes, and indeed other programmes, where the biggest complaint to date has been the difficulties with supply and the scheduling.
"So people are very, very anxious to get the vaccine".
"Anecdotally, we're hearing figures north of 90%, so I suppose it will take some time.
"What I'm also hearing is that a person may have declined the vaccine on the first dose - and then when the vaccination team come back to a particular nursing home they're actually saying 'I wish to take it now on the second time'".
He said the reason for this was not clear.
But he added: "It is not mandatory, unfortunately - and I would be at one with the CEO of the HSE, Paul Reid, I would think as well that both from their own perspective, from those that they care for and from their family and friends, that everybody should get the vaccine".
He said while people should inform and educate themselves on the vaccines available, it should be compulsory.
"Until such time as the legislators act, and they deem it appropriate to act, then I suppose all of us across the entire health service... will be using all our endeavours to fully promote it and to work with people."
But he admitted the next steps "will be interesting".
"Once we get a picture of the uptake, then that will determine what happens next right across the health service."