The responsibility for the deaths of five babies in Portlaoise hospital may never be known, according to the head of the HSE.
Tony O'Brien has written to the Department of Health to outline concerns about how the inquiry into the infants' deaths was being carried out.
According to the Irish Times, Mr O'Brien has confirmed the outcomes of disciplinary proceedings would have to remain confidential.
It means the families of five babies may never find out the findings of the inquiry.
Health Correspondant with the newspaper Paul Cullen has seen the letter, and said: "Effectively he was saying that the way the HSE was running its investigation at that stage, which was to set up an investigatory team lead by some NHS managers in the UK, wasn't going to work.
"This is because of legal issues that the families might never find out whether the people responsible for any adverse care had been disciplined."