A HOSPITAL has apologised to mothers of newborn babies after renovation works were carried out in the maternity unit during the middle of the night.
Maintenance workers removed and cemented concrete floors and performed other refurbishment jobs while mothers and their babies were trying to sleep.
Patients and their families have claimed that the works were extremely disruptive and continued until the early hours of the morning.
Some patients were encouraged to allow their babies to be moved to a different room at night so that staff could have easier access to the newborns.
It is understood that the work also continued at Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise during a designated period in the afternoon designed to allow mothers get rest.
The HSE has issued an apology to patients on behalf of the hospital for what it described as "essential upgrading of the flooring in the maternity ward".
One maternity patient last night described her stay as "distressing and exhausting" and said she had lodged a complaint with the hospital.
Jennifer Ryan (31) told how she awoke the morning after giving birth to her fourth child Maisie and felt her eyes stinging from the drying concrete.
"I was congested in my nose from the smell and my eyes were stinging really badly.
"No mother should go through what I and others were forced to go through. It was a horrendous experience for both myself and my family," she said.