The Health Service Executive has agreed to deploy HSE nurses to a nursing home in Portarlington Co Offaly after it pleaded for help to deal with critical staff shortages as it battled a Covid-19 outbreak.

On last night's RTÉ Prime Time, Valerie Moore, the Manager of Oakdale Nursing, spoke about how the nursing home, which has eight Covid-19 positive residents, was down 28 staff including six nurses.

In particular, Ms Moore raised concern about covering the night shift this evening with only two nurses, which would not meet public health standards.

She said it would have an adverse impact on all 49 residents, one of whom is also getting palliative care at the home.

The nursing home was contacted by the HSE today and it has now agreed to assist Oakdale by deploying three full-time nurses and one part-time nurse from Portlaoise and Tullamore hospitals to the home.

Reacting to the news, Ms Moore said she was delighted for Oakdale residents and existing nursing and care staff, some of whom have been working double shifts in order to fill the gaps in rosters over many weeks.

"Now we can safely look after our residents and the eight battling Covid-19. For staff, it means finally being able to plan a day of rest," she said.

On last night's Prime Time, Ms Moore highlighted how she had written repeatedly to the HSE and local community health officials over ten days since 17 April, telling that the home was in "dire straits".

She said the situation had become so critical, with fears of cross-contamination of other residents and delays in their care due to the nursing shortage, that she faced the choice of either having to have the eight Covid-19 positive patients removed to hospital or to close down the nursing home to other residents.

Oakdale is just one of many care homes that have hit crisis point.

On Sunday, the HSE said that there were 75 care homes at 'Red' status, meaning that they are at "significant risk in terms of operations".

A further 129 care homes are at 'Amber' status, meaning that they getting "significant enhanced supports from the HSE".