THE HSE has established an independent investigation into alleged illegal and medically dangerous abortion advice given at HSE-funded crisis pregnancy counselling services.
Brigid McManus, a former secretary general of the Department of Education and Science, will head the inquiry, which the HSE says will be "concluded as expeditiously as possible".
Last month, the Irish Independent exposed the findings of an undercover probe which secretly recorded some IFPA (Irish Family Planning Association) staff putting women's lives at risk and breaking the law.
This newspaper provided details of the probe to the HSE, prompting the inquiry.
In some instances, women were told to hide their abortions from their doctors, advice which could put their lives in danger, according to the Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Professor Sam Coulter Smith.
In other cases, pregnancy counsellors told women how to smuggle a powerful abortion pill into the state by setting up a PO box in Northern Ireland.
Galway-based solicitor Eilis Mulroy, the chief investigator of the probe which revealed the dangerous practices, said: "We welcome the establishment of an independent inquiry into this matter of deep public concern."