The emergency department (ED) at Wexford General Hospital will reopen next month following a fire that caused widespread damage in March.

The Health Service Executive has confirmed that the ED will be ready for use by Tuesday 25 July following fears in some quarters that it could be closed for a longer period of time.

However, it is likely that full bed capacity in the entire hospital will not be restored until late August.

The fire on 1 March caused significant damage to parts of the hospital and forced its total evacuation, before some departments began to reopen the following day.

It has taken longer for the ED to resume service.

"It’s great to have a date," hospital manager Linda O’Leary said in a statement.

"A lot of work from our staff has gone into getting to this point but it’s important to be clear, we still have six weeks to go until the ED opens."

The closure of the emergency department in Wexford has increased the pressure on other hospitals in the region, particularly University Hospital Waterford, and it is hoped the reopening will ease those problems.

"We’re on the home straight now," Ms O’Leary said.

"We just need to get the work done and be ready for July 25th."

The injury unit in University Hospital Waterford remains open.