Patients attending one of the country's busiest maternity hospitals were put at risk by the failure of all staff to wash their hands and a "generally unclean" environment.
An unannounced inspection of the Coombe maternity hospital in Dublin found St Gerard's gynaecology ward was unclean and staff failed to wash their hands after touching patients on four of the 19 occasions on which they were observed.
The inspection, which took place last month, also revealed:
* The wheel area of an intravenous drip stand observed in the patient area was unclean.
* A black mould-like staining was visible on the sealant between the wall and the shower tray in the shower room.
* The skirting board was loose and not attached to the wall inside the door of the utility room.
* The linen cupboard was observed to be full and additional linen was stored in an open, uncovered linen trolley.
A separate inspection of the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin found some staff were not washing their hands between patients and procedures.
Rust-coloured staining was observed on the wheel areas on some intravenous drip stands in the patient area and on a commode in the 'dirty' utility room.
Two commodes which were inspected had "this is clean" stickers, however, staining was visible under the seat on one.
The HIQA inspectors set out an action plan for each of the hospitals to rectify deficiencies they uncovered.