Independent Senator John Crown has said his mind has been blown by the report into the deaths of four babies at Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Health Committee, Mr Crown questioned why junior doctors were working at Portlaoise when it was not recognised for training.

Senator Crown said the "room was reeking of whitewash".

Today's committee meeting was convened after a report by RTÉ's Investigations Unit into the deaths.

Minister for Health James Reilly, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan and HSE Deputy Director General Laverne McGuinness all attended.

Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher questioned the lack of openness at the maternity unit and whether this culture was rooted across the hospital.

Fine Gael's Dan Neville questioned the minister about whether problems at Portlaoise were confined only to that hospital.

Mr Reilly said he could not be sure and said that is why he had commenced a review of other maternity units.

Mr Reilly said people must be held to account but "we don't want a witchhunt".

He said parents do not want the service closed, they want it made safe.

In time, Mr Reilly said, Portlaoise hospital will become an exemplary hospital.