Portlaoise Hospital concerns ignored
Only one of the three surgeons at troubled Portlaoise Hospital was permanent until recently, it has emerged.
Two of the posts are now permanent and a third is currently being filled by a locum pending the outcome of a joint recruitment process that is currently underway with St James's Hospital in Dublin.
It comes amid criticism of political and HSE failures in relation to the hospital, despite patient safety recommendations by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) back in 2011.
The watchdog will also be critical of political interference in an upcoming report.
Local TD and Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said he had no apology to make for lobbying strongly in 2011 and 2012 against downgrading the hospital where 2,000 babies were born each year.
But he said he had also pointed out to government and the HSE that it had inadequate funding compared similar hospitals.
Deputy Flanagan acknowledged "mistakes and shortcomings" at Portlaoise Hospital but said €6m in investment had now been approved and a new era can now be embarked upon giving it a viable future.
"I want to see this HIQA report published in full and a stop put to deliberate and selective leaking which is damaging the hospital, staff and the people of the area," Mr Flanagan told the Irish Independent.