The findings of a review into how the organs of 18 babies were sent by Cork University Maternity Hospital for incineration in 2020, without the knowledge or consent of their parents, is expected to be provided to the families by Friday.

Following successive delays, the families were last week informed by email that "it is now expected you will receive the final report by next Friday (November 25th)".

A draft copy of the investigation report had initially been promised to the parents by November 2021, and again by September of this year.

Families held a protest outside the hospital on 11 June calling for the findings of the review to be published.

The inquiry was instigated by the HSE to investigate how the organs of 18 babies, which were initially stored in the morgue of CUH, were sent to Antwerp for incineration in late March/early April 2020.

It followed a report by RTÉ Investigates that the organs were sent to Belgium along with clinical waste.

Under HSE standards, organs retained after autopsies should be sensitively disposed of by burial or cremation only.

In response to a query from RTÉ News today, a spokesman for the South/South West Hospital Group said that they have not yet been advised of "a final agreed date".

However, they said efforts are under way to coordinate the release of the final report to ensure that all 18 families will receive it "at the same time or as close as possible to the same time".

The ongoing delay was raised during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil last week.

Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane said delays from the Government and the HSE over the last two years had caused "huge hurt and distress" for the families involved.

"It is simply not good enough," Mr Cullinane said.

"And I have to say that my experience of meeting some of those families is that they believe they are being stonewalled."

Tanáiste Leo Varadkar said the delay in completing the review has been very upsetting and is "very, very difficult to defend from any point of view, quite frankly".

"It is hard to fathom the hurt that this incident must have caused the families affected.

"It is an extremely distressing situation that should not have occurred, and it's only added to their distress and grief."

He told Mr Cullinane that he had been assured by the HSE that it will be shared with the families affected "within the next few weeks".

"But it's essential that correct processes are followed to ensure the facts of the case can be established and shared with the families affected," he said.