The Health Service Executive has apologised to the family of a baby girl who was delivered stillborn, with a knot in her umbilical cord, at the maternity hospital in Limerick over 15 years ago.

Rebecca Collins, of Carrigaholt, Co Clare, had sued the HSE for negligence and breach of duty of care after being admitted to the hospital in December 2007.

The High Court approved a settlement to Ms Collins this morning, which she said brings some closure to the family.

Ms Collins had sought an inquiry into what happened to her daughter after a watching a Prime Time programme on RTÉ in 2015, which featured a similar story to hers.

She was 39 weeks and six days into her first pregnancy when she attended the hospital on the evening of 26 December.

Her waters had spontaneously ruptured.

She was monitored and had four cardiotocography (CTG) readings on 26 and 27 December, which were interpreted as normal, but a CTG in the early hours of 28 December could not detect a heartbeat.

Later that day, Ms Collins delivered a stillborn baby girl named Hannah with a "tight true knot in the umbilical cord".

An internal inquiry discovered there was a failure to identify and appropriately manage an abnormal CTG scan.

The HSE is accepting liability and apologised to the Collins family in court.

The letter of apology said the HSE "would like to sincerely apologise" and to acknowledge what happened was "devastating for you and your family and has had a profound and lasting effect on you".

The HSE said "the willingness of your family to share your experience was invaluable in allowing the hospital to learn from your experience and in helping to make recommendations to improve the systems and processes in place at the hospital related to the delivery of maternity services."

Speaking after the settlement was approved, the family solicitor read a statement on behalf of Rebecca and her husband Tom and their four daughters.

"For Rebecca and Tom and their family, Hannah will always be in their hearts and thoughts, undoubtedly Christmas is particularly difficult as it brings another anniversary of her passing." said Rachel O'Shaughnessy.

"Hannah's death has left a wound that will never heal, a life that is gone forever, laughter that will never be heard, a sister that was never known and a daughter that will be forever missed".

Ms O'Shaughnessy said that the family hope that by bringing awareness today it might encourage others to ask and "keep asking the difficult questions until they are answered".

The Collins's said they feel their questions would have remained unanswered "were it not for a Prime Time television programme that Rebecca saw in January 2015 where a similar case was described and failings in the CTG monitoring were identified".

She said watching the programme brought the feelings flooding back.

They said this is another example of the very real need for the urgent enactment of the Patient Safety Bill.