A mother was advised to take her sick child back to the car and let her sleep there as the A&E unit in Droghedas Lourdes Hospital was ‘standing room only’ on one of the coldest nights of the year.

The shocking revelation was made by Michael O’Dowd the former Mayor of Drogheda and the spokesman for the Safeguard Drogheda A&E group following a protest at the hospital on Monday.

He said, ‘ Quite recently a woman rang me from the A&E and told me that as the unit was standing room only staff had advised her to take her child out to their car to sleep.

‘This happened on one of the coldest nights of the year and my understanding is  other parents with children were also advised to wait outside .

‘The HSE bypass protocol which is seeking to divert patients from Our Lady’s hospital in Navan to Drogheda will only add further pressure to a system that is already failing.’