The HSE has defended holding a face-to-face training course for public health nurses despite the introduction of Level 5 restrictions.

A total of 37 health workers attended child health service training over the course of a day in a Dublin hotel on Thursday.

In a statement, the HSE said the National Healthy Childhood Programme Clinical Skills Review training was being carried out in compliance with Coivd-19 precautions and involved essential workers.

The course includes child health screening, vaccinations and developmental surveillance which continued to be provided during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first two parts of the course were delivered online as part of an amended programme but the technical skills training was done face-to-face.

According to the statement, 16 public health nurses (PHNs) attended a two-hour morning session and 21 were at the afternoon session in the Clayton Airport Hotel. 

It added that guidelines were issued in advance and the PHNs were not obliged to attend.

"Under Level 5 of the Government's Plan for Living with Covid-19, this training event is permitted as this part of the three-part National Healthy Childhood Programme Clinical Skills Review training cannot be held remotely," the HSE said.