The government has been accused of playing fast and loose with the constitution after revelations private investigators were hired to spy on hospital consultants.
Three departments gave the go-ahead to the surveillance in a bid to find out if consultants were treating more private patients than their contract allows.
Taoiseach on State spying on doctors: 'No ministerial involvement in the execution of the strategy.'
Such careful wording. Did they order it? Did they authorise it? How many of them knew about it?— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) June 12, 2018
Talks are ongoing to reach a settlement between the government and consultants in a series of court cases that could cost the state millions.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says the government using private investigators is a grave development.
"This sets a very sinister and dangerous precedent," said Mr Martin.
"Ministers and their departments should not be ordering surveillance on citizens or on employees of the State.
"It is wrong and a potential abuse of power."