Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd has said details of 700 separate complaints about nursing and care homes that he received through a Freedom of Information request were passed on to gardaí last week.

He said the complaints, which were included in documents he received from the Health Information and Quality Authority, will also be sent to the Medical Council and the Nursing Board for their consideration.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, the Louth TD called for greater powers for HIQA to investigate complaints concerning the treatment of patients in these homes.

Mr O'Dowd plans to propose an ammendment to an Act in the Dáil next Wednesday to give HIQA more powers of inspection.

Fine Gael's Fergus O'Dowd says HIQA needs to be given more powers

Currently HIQA cannot investigate an individual complaint, they can only do general inspections of care homes.

Mr O'Dowd said today that HIQA needs to be able to go into a home and speak to people directly about allegations of mistreatment.

He also said that staff and residents are afraid of complaining about the care giving in care homes.

Giving more powers of inspection to HIQA will solve the problem, according to Mr O'Dowd.