Three nurses have been suspended from work at the Accident and Emergency Department of Cork University Hospital after an incident in which another nurse suffered a serious eye injury.

The incident has been described as a prank which went horribly wrong.

The three nurses were due to attend disciplinary hearings today.

Details of the incident, which happened on the night of 31 October, have only been made public now, after RTÉ News contacted the HSE and the nurses' union, the INO.

A nurse working in the emergency department was about to leave for Australia and colleagues decided to play a prank on her.

A syringe was filled with a scrub used for washing hands and the nurse was squirted with the liquid and hit in the eye. She suffered a serious injury.

The nurse who was injured has since left for Australia. The HSE says she has recovered well but will continue to be monitored.

The HSE has confirmed that an investigation is under way and says the appropriate industrial relations processes are being adhered to.