The Health Service Executive and gardaí are investigating the theft of 15 laptops from HSE offices in Roscommon town.

It is understood that while information on 13 of the laptops has been encrypted, what is described as confidential information on one of the other two machines is accessible to anybody in possession of the laptops.

The theft took place at the offices of the Roscommon Primary/Community and Continuing Care Department of the HSE on Lanesboro Road between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Officials say that the 15 laptops were stolen from ten or 11 offices although there was no evidence of a break-in at the centre.

One laptop contained training slides on a HSE computer system but it is the information on the other machine that may now be accessible.

There is some concern about the possibility of information on that laptop being disclosed to the public.

In a statement the health board said: 'The HSE is satisfied that there was no identifying information in relation to patients or clients on one of the non-encrypted laptops.

'The HSE is awaiting the incident report about the stolen laptop that was not encrypted and which may or may not contain sensitive information.

'The HSE expects to receive this incident report in the coming days.'

The Deputy State Protection Commissioner has strongly criticised the HSE over the situation.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Gary Davis said he expressed disappointment that the office of the Data Protection Commissioner had not been notified by the HSE learned about it on RTÉ News this afternoon.

He also said the Commissioner was disappointed that the missing laptop had not been encrypted despite an explicit commitment received from Brendan Drumm of the HSE last September that all laptops within the organisation would be encrypted.

The children's welfare organisation Barnardos has called for a review of the HSE's systems for the maintenance of records and confidential information following the robbery.

Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay said the organisation has highlighted shortcomings in the HSE's systems several months ago and would be calling for a review of the situation.