Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise made an apology in the High Court to a couple whose baby son died at the hospital nine years ago.

In the apology, the hospital said it wished to express its sincere apologies for the failings which caused the death of Dylan Franks. It also accepted responsibility for the failings that it said "should not have happened".

It added: "The hospital sincerely regrets the tragic consequences its failings have caused to you both and your family."

Dylan Franks died in the operating theatre soon after his birth on 6 March 2007.

The apology was read out in court as Dylan's parents - Aidan and Elsie Franks of Scart, Roscrea, Co Tipperary - settled their action against the Health Service Executive over the death of their son.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Senior Counsel Oonah McCrann told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that a number of opportunities were missed to deliver the baby, he should have been delivered earlier, and members of the staff had indicated he was going to be delivered.

She said a huge distress for the family was when it was contended by HSE witnesses at the inquest into the death of Dylan in 2009 that the cause of death was due to chronic uteroplacental insufficiency. Ms McCrann said Mrs Franks thought because she had smoked she was responsible.

Counsel said it was only after the RTÉ Prime Time programmes on baby deaths at the Portlaoise hospital that the Franks began to ask questions and sought legal advice before they commenced proceedings in February 2014.

The Franks had claimed there was a failure to follow through with the plan for delivery of Dylan on 10 February, 2007 and a failure to have regard to the clear evidence that Dylan was small.

The pregnancy, it was claimed, had been allowed to continue until after term and there was a failure to deliver Dylan prior to 4 March 2007.

It was claimed there was a failure to recognise foetal distress and a failure to give a full and accurate account to Dylan's parents of what had happened.

It was also claimed there was a negligent concealing of the true facts and that Mrs Franks had negligently been allowed for seven years to feel that the reason for her baby's death was placental insufficiency caused because of her smoking during pregnancy.

Liability was admitted in the case.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross sympathised with the Franks on the loss of Dylan and he said he hoped the settlement would give them some sort of closure.