Health Minister Micheál Martin told the Dail this evening that he found events surrounding the death of a baby in Monaghan yesterday morning 'unacceptable' and 'disturbing'.

He said a full review of the circumstances will be carried out as a matter of urgency, and will be independently evaluated.

The Minister for Health has said that a full review of the events surrounding the death of a baby in Monaghan will be evaluated externally and independently of the North Eastern Health Board.

Minister Martin was answering questions in the Dáil regarding the death of a prematurely-born baby whose mother was turned away from Monaghan General Hospital because its maternity unit has been closed.

The baby was born en route to Cavan, but died shortly after.

He said that contrary to reports, the mother had been seen in Monaghan General Hospital before the transfer to the hospital in Cavan occurred.

He expressed his deepest sympathy to the mother and the family on their deep loss.

Fine Gael's spokesperson on Health and Children, Olivia Mitchell, has called on the Minister to come clean on the future role of Monaghan Hospital.

She said decisions could not be made by stealth. And she said the current situation - where hundreds of qualified staff in Monaghan are "twiddling their thumbs" for almost a year - could not be allowed to continue.

Martin blamed for baby's death

The infant's grandfather has blamed Mr Martin for the death of his baby granddaughter.

Ms Livingstone's father said the family was totally devastated at baby Bronagh's death. He blamed Micheál Martin and the North Eastern Health Board for the death of his granddaughter.

Monaghan Hospital's maternity unit has been closed in recent years, provoking widespread anger among residents in the area.

Angry reaction to death

The Irish Nurses' Organisation has expressed its sympathy to the Livingstone family. Patsy Doyle of the INO called for an immediate review of all clinical and support services to ensure delivery of a safe system of Obstetric care in a safe working environment. 'This is obviously not currently available, which is a disgrace,' she said.

A hospital action candidate, Paudge Connolly, became a TD last May having campaigned on the issue in the general election. On RTE radio this morning, Mr Connolly said people in Monaghan were very concerned at the way emergency hospital admissions were dealt with.

He described the incident as a tragedy for Monaghan and a direct result of the downgrading of services.

Sinn Féin's Cavan Monaghan TD, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, said that the tragedy might not have occurred if the Maternity Unit at Monaghan had remained open. 'Expectant mothers from North Monaghan and elsewhere in the County now have greater distances to travel to either Cavan or Drogheda, increasing the risk of out-of-hospital births and such tragedies,' he added.