A dedicated out-of-hours service for children will not be set up this year due to a lack of Government funding.

In a statement this morning the HSE said it is finalising plans to ensure that children can access emergency accommodation out of hours and it expects to bring proposals to the Minister for Children shortly.

Three weeks ago it emerged that a 15-year-old boy had to spend a night in a makeshift bed at Mallow garda station because HSE personnel were not contactable.

According to Minister for Children Barry Andrews the situation was 'wholly unacceptable.'

However the HSE today confirmed reports that a dedicated out of hours service was not achievable in the 'current economic environment'.

While plans are been finalised to ensure children have access to out of hours accommodation, the AGSI described the situation as an absolute disgrace and it called on the Government to take control of the matter.

Meanwhile, IMPACT, which represents social workers, said its disappointed that the Government does not seem prepared to fund such a service.