Health Minister James Reilly has ordered a report on a number of infant deaths at the Midland Regional Hospital.
An RTE television documentary tonight revealed how four babies died in similar circumstances in Portlaoise hospital in the space of six years.
Questions were raised about failures to properly monitor foetal distress during their mothers’ labour and an inappropriate use of the drug syntocinon to speed up the labour.
Health Minister Dr Reilly has now said that chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan will draw up a report on the infant deaths.
The HSE has apologised to the families, and said it accepted there were serious shortcomings in the cases – as well as unacceptable delays in completing reports.
It also acknowledged that it failed to communicate with families and act on the recommendations of reviews into the deaths.
It insisted the deaths were isolated incidents.
The documentary revealed the first baby died in 2006 and another had a “near miss” and survived.
It looked at the deaths of three other babies in the years that followed, including Mark Molloy in January 2012.
Roisin Molloy and husband Mark were told their son Mark was stillborn. Four months later, they discovered his heart was beating when he was delivered.
Roisin said: “Mark’s death is so black and white... he shouldn’t have died.”
Last month an inquest recorded a verdict of medical misadventure in the death of newborn baby Mark.
Her husband also told the inquest how he was devastated at having to take the baby’s body for autopsy in a taxi.
Barrister David Holland said the Molloys had wanted to find out what happened to their son but also "to ensure that it doesn't happen to any other baby".