A Co Galway Nursing Home is appealing for help from qualified nurses following the deaths of twelve residents with Covid-19, four of which occurred in the last 24 hours.

Speaking to RTÉ's Drivetime, Brían McNamara, Director of Greenpark Nursing Home in Tuam, said they have been "hit by an horrific tidal wave" in recent weeks.

There have been 35 positive cases out of 49 residents, he said, while half of the staff tested positive and are out of work.

He said that just a week before the facility was due to start receiving vaccinations, residents began testing positive for Covid-19.

"It's like fighting something you can't see, it's just so heartbreaking", he said.

"As the director and leader I need to walk in and try to lift my staff and tell them things will get better, and it's just so difficult."

Mr McNamara urged the community to remain vigilant and continue adhering to public health guidelines.

He said that while the HSE has provided them with nurses, his biggest fear is that their nursing staff levels are beginning to drop.

"I need nurses", Mr McNamara said. "We did have a nurse from the HSE but unfortunately she has to be redeployed elsewhere tomorrow, so that's going to leave us short for three days.

"I'll try and cover it myself as much as I can but we need nursing help if we can get it. If there's people out there that want to help, we would gladly accept their help."

Speaking on the same programme, the Chief Executive of Nursing Homes Ireland said the situation in Greenpark is "being replicated" across health and social care services.

Tadhg Daly said there are 184 open outbreaks in nursing homes, which is about one third of all nursing homes.

"The single biggest challenge at this point in time is staffing", he said.

"We've seen it in the acute hospitals and in our nursing homes. Staff are working extra shifts and not taking their leave, and that's putting them at risk as well, so staffing is a huge, huge challenge."

Mr Daly said many staff are out at the moment, having either contracted the virus themselves or because they are close contacts of a positive case.

More staff were available during the first wave, he said, but every available nurse at the moment is already on the frontline, meaning movement between facilities is very limited.

"That's why the existing staff are really going above and beyond making sure that they can continue to provide safe care to people despite the very arduous and difficult circumstances people find themselves in."