The Beacon Hospital has announced that an independent review is to be conducted into the controversy over the hospital vaccinating teachers from a private school in Bray.

In a statement, the hospital said that the board was appointing Eugene McCague, a former managing partner and chairman of Arthur Cox, to conduct the review on behalf of the non-executive directors.

Upon completion of the review, the non-executive members of the board will consider the findings and will at that time "take any necessary actions required".

On Friday, it was revealed that the privately owned hospital administered 20 leftover Covid-19 vaccines to a number of teachers at St Gerard's School in Bray.

In a statement, it said: "The Board of Beacon Hospital unreservedly apologises to our patients, staff and the wider community for the upset caused by the vaccination of teachers in the Beacon Vaccination Centre."

It said that since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, the hospital had assisted the national effort and had vaccinated more than 9,000 HSE staff.

The hospital said that the vaccination centre had been fitted out, staffed, operated and funded by Beacon Hospital.

At the weekend, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly asked the HSE to suspend the vaccination programme at the hospital.

He also wrote to the hospital board asking for a full account of events.

Earlier, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said what happened at the Beacon Hospital last week was "very, very wrong" and "completely unacceptable".

Speaking this afternoon, Mr Martin said it was "repugnant to people" that something like that would happen.

He said vaccines belong to the people of Ireland and prioritisation to date has been for the most vulnerable.

Mr Martin said the HSE is overseeing an examination of what happened.

He said there have been clear protocols laid down in terms of prioritisation and the manner in which surplus vaccines are to be used.

Earlier, the HSE's National Lead for Vaccine Programme Damien McCallion said it was very disappointing to see what happened at the Beacon Hospital.

Mr McCallion said the HSE was not happy with the situation and that a review was under way.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, he said there were very clear guidelines issued in how back-up lists should be operated and these were not followed.

The HSE is satisfied that the high-risk groups that were first identified for vaccination have received the first dose of the vaccine, along with staff in those groups, he added.

Mr McCallion said the healthcare workers portal closed last Friday because the vaccination of that group is largely complete.

He said some early green shoots as a result of the vaccination programme are being seen with reductions in outbreaks in nursing homes and among healthcare workers.

Mr McCallion said Ireland should receive over 200,000 vaccines this week with GPs administering many of these to the over 70s.

He added around a million vaccines should be received next month which "will be a welcome uplift".

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Latest Health Service Executive estimates put the number of people in Group 4 at 250,000, an increase on earlier estimates of around 150,000 people.

The HSE has said that this group is being identified by hospitals and specialists, and GPs are also expected to assist with the task.

The Taoiseach also said there has been "no indication" that the UK will provide any vaccines to Ireland in the short-term. 

Mr Martin said he spoke to Boris Johnson six weeks ago and he was "very clear" that he would have to "vaccinate his people first" and they are "some distance off that".

He said there had been no contact since then and no indication from officials at British government level in terms of offering any vaccines.

However, he added: "Any vaccines that are available, if we require them, of course we would accept them, but there's been no offer at this particular point."

This evening, the Department of Health was notified of one further coronavirus-related death and 539 new cases.

The National Public Health Emergency Team said that as of last Friday, 786,569 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland.