Ireland's largest paediatric hospital has been accused of putting its young patients at risk due to low standards of hygiene.
Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin has been slammed by health watchdog HIQA after inspectors from the body found a lack of cleanliness throughout the establishment.
It was revealed in a report published by the organisation that, with the exception of the emergency department, all areas assessed were unsanitary.
Wash bowls, jugs and funnels were discovered in inappropriate places, such as on top of a bed pan washer, while an uncapped needle was spotted on the floor of a treatment room.
Furthermore, inspectors saw that three commodes had been soiled but not emptied and a black, mould-like substance was found in one ward.
Derek Keating, the Fine Gael party representative for Dublin Mid West, said the findings of the document are "unacceptable" and have nothing to do with cutbacks or economic management.
He added: "Many of my constituents have to use these hospitals. I demand changes and action to ensure that the hospitals are fit for purpose."
In the publication - which covers the hygiene standards of various Irish hospitals, including Connolly Hospital, South Tipperary Hospital and Limerick Maternity Hospital - HIQA stated patients at almost half of the 13 institutions it visited were at risk of developing an infection.
At Connolly Hospital, the authority saw that a patient with a highly contagious disease was being treated in an open cubicle in the emergency department, while a cleaner was caught living an isolation area to get a waste bag and mop wearing an apron and gloves.
In particular, HIQA noted healthcare workers' failure to wash their hands is increasing the risk of infection among patients at each of the hospitals assessed.
Phelim Quinn, the body's director of regulation, stated: "Hospitals are being asked to develop quality improvement plans that prioritise changes necessary to fully meet the national standards."
Employees at the establishments under investigation may want to take note of a recent campaign for better hygiene standards within hospitals taking place in Yorkshire, which is calling for patients, visitors and healthcare workers to wash their hands as frequently as possible around ill people.