The HSE has taken over the running of a nursing home in Co Kerry after a recent outbreak of Covid-19 left the centre in "chaos".
The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) sought a court order for the HSE to take over the management of Oaklands Nursing Home in Listowel yesterday evening after findings that prompted serious concern.
The facility, which is operated by Bolden (Nursing) Ltd, has capacity for 51 residents, according to the Irish Times.
After an outbreak of the virus lead to 19 residents and staff testing positive earlier this month, a HSE team entered the facility on November 4th where they found the "centre in chaos" deputy chief inspector of social services for Hiqa, Susan Cliffe told Listowel District Court.
All staff were found to be in contact with all patients, residents were "wandering unsupervised" around the nursing home, and people who had tested positive for Covid-19 were interacting with other residents Ms Cliffe said.
"Alarm bells should have been firing off in this centre and it didn’t happen,” Ms Cliffe added.
It was also found that domestic cleaning products were being used in the centre rather than specialist equipment for healthcare settings.
Judge David Waters granted the order, satisfied there was a "serious risk to life and welfare of persons in the centre".
Bolden Ltd were not represented in court however, there was consent to the Hiqa application to have the nursing home's registration cancelled.
The court heard that there has been "a high level of concern" already this year regarding the Oaklands centre, which had been inspected on seven occasions.
Speaking to RTÉ radio's Morning Ireland, HSE director general Paul Reid said they are doing everything that needs to be done at the nursing home.
Resources had been deployed to support the facility where measures on prevention and control, hygiene and ‘cohorting’ were being undertaken, he said.
The HSE has been working very closely with Nursing Homes Ireland with up to 10 nursing home at present on a red 'high alert' status, he said, with high level supports in place.
Mr Reid added that serial testing, which alerts the HSE to at-risk nursing homes had greatly helped the sector, with 100 nursing homes, out of a total of more than 2,000, under watch.