Just 54 of the health staff who answered the 'Be On Call for Ireland' recruitment drive in the battle against coronavirus have taken up their posts so far, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Concern has been raised about the "startling" low number of staff that has been put in place after a campaign that led to 73,000 people applying.
The high-profile recruitment campaign was launched on St Patrick's Day to bolster the capacity of the health service to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.
But while more than 1,600 candidates have been successful at interview, the HSE has confirmed that just 54 people have been placed in jobs.
The latest HSE figures show that 31,000 applicants - or 42pc - did not have relevant healthcare skills, while 13,000 others were administrative staff who were not needed.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín raised concern over the numbers who have been placed in jobs, six weeks after the recruitment drive began.
The Meath West TD said the campaign was "a wonderful example of the goodwill and community solidarity of Ireland, being harnessed in this critical battle against Covid-19".
He said it was "startling" that, out of 73,000 applicants, just 54 people were "actually operating as staff in the health service".
Mr Tóibín added: "Granted, not all of the 73,000 people were suitable to work in the health service but this initiative was launched over 40 days ago."
He listed challenges facing the health system, including ramping up of coronavirus testing and the "heavy toll" lockdown is having on people in terms of mental health.
He also said that hospital avoidance by non-coronavirus patients was having a "negative effective on the lives and health of so many ill people".
Mr Toibín added it was pivotal that the full capacity of the health service was utilised.
The HSE said that 'Be On Call For Ireland' was one element of a large recruitment campaign taking place across the health service that has resulted in more than 1,000 clinical and other staff being recruited.
A statement said that almost 1,000 of these had been hired by the HSE's national recruitment service since the declaration of a national health emergency.
It said that as of Wednesday evening, 1,617 candidates from the 'Be On Call for Ireland' initiative had been successful at interview.
A total of 470 had completed the recruitment process, including Garda vetting and reference checks, and 54 individuals had taken up their posts.
The HSE said the initiative was aimed at creating "an additional reserve pool of 'job-ready' staff to support the health service during the pandemic".
The campaign was said to be targeted at qualified healthcare workers who were not already working in the sector.
It said 31,000 applicants did not identify as having relevant healthcare skills and they had been advised to register with the various volunteer initiatives that had been set up.
A further 13,000 were management or administration candidates but any such roles that arise in the HSE are being filled by redeployment from elsewhere in the public and civil services.
This allows enhanced support to the health service by staff already being paid by the Exchequer.
Around 29,000 applicants registered as health workers but 10,000 were already working in healthcare. The HSE does not want to divert such staff from the work they are already doing.
Approximately 1,000 were not licensed to practise within their profession. A further 1,000 candidates unsubscribed from the process themselves.
The HSE said around 3,000 applicants were being appointed into the health service through other routes.
That left the possible applicant pool with 14,000 candidates.
The HSE said it was the 14,000 who identified as nurses, doctors, ambulance staff, cleaners, dentists, radiographers, physiotherapists and other types of healthcare workers that it was focusing on to bring to a 'job-ready' status as a reserve to be deployed "as needed".
Around 7,000 have been contacted to ascertain their ability to work during this crisis.
Former Miss Universe Ireland Grainne Gallanagh is among the healthcare staff who have returned to Ireland to work on the frontline during the Covid-19 crisis.
Grainne (25), from Buncrana, Co Donegal, is now helping patients in Ireland after working as a nurse in the UK.
She said: "I started back on Monday, I'm in Letterkenny University Hospital and it's very busy, as expected.
"It was good to get back into the swing of things and there's great morale in the hospital considering everything that's going on.
"Everyone was just really happy to have to have more staff."
She said her application took a few weeks to be processed from when she applied in early March, as she had to re-register to work in Ireland, and because of the large volumes of workers who answered the HSE's recruitment calls.
"I was anxious to get back, but they did say that they had quite a lot of applications to go through because there were a lot of people who hadn't worked in a while, or people that are retired and then were going to come back and get re-registered.
"A lot of people came home from other countries and stuff so they had a lot of applications to go through."