A hospital has been ordered to clean up its act within weeks after inspectors found dirty sinks, soiled toilets and unclean floors posing a risk to patients.
Nenagh Hospital, in Co Tipperary, was also berated for dusty and gritty bedsteads, mouldy shower rooms and allowing unfettered access to hazardous waste as well as needles and syringes.
State health watchdog Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said there was "much evidence" of the hospital breaching national hygience standards.
During an unannounced examination of the hospital last month, inspectors found health-threatening shortcomings in two wards - particularly the men's ward.
These included stained bedsteads, sticky residue on bedside lockers, crumbling wall surfaces, dusty surfaces, and faulty electrical fittings, along with soiled areas in patient toilets and showers.
A medical device for monitoring sick patient temperatures was unclean and there were stained floors, unclean surfaces and severed electrical wiring hanging free in a utility area.
There was no door into a room storing hazardous waste, allowing unsecured access.
In the women's ward, there were dusty and gritty beds, unclean floors, sticky residue on an intravenous pump, and unsecured access to needles, syringes and oral medications.
The corridor was cluttered with specialist equipment alongside laundry.
Inspectors also found black mould on sinks in shower rooms and toilets during their visit on September 5.
Hospital chiefs have been given six weeks to produce a report on improvement plans.
Inspectors also made spot checks on the Mater and St Vincent's in Dublin and said many improvements were needed in both.
In St Teresa's ward in the Mater, inspectors found unlabelled syringes with unknown solutions lying in two kidney dishes in a utility room along with uncapped needles, some of which had been attached.
A clinical waste bin was also overflowing and some potentially hazardous waste had been left in an unlocked store room.
Dust and peeling paint was an issue in a lot of areas in St Joseph's ward in the Mater and a patient bathroom failed inspections because of a dirty bath and a wet and stained floor.
There was an issue over the spread of infections as a door was left open between an isolation room where a patient with a communicable infection was being treated and the area where staff put on protective gowns.
There were also issues with the way wash bowls, bed urinals and boxes of disinfectant were stored.
As regards hand hygiene, which Hiqa states is the the single most important measure in stopping the spread of infections, inspectors said they saw eight missed opportunities out of 17 in the Mater.
The standards were slightly better in St Vincent's where 18 of 24 hand hygiene opportunities were taken.
In the Mater, hand-wash sinks in some clinical areas were not compliant with the HSE's guidelines and some were unclean and posed a risk of spreading healthcare associated infections.
"Observations suggest that a culture of hand hygiene practice is not embedded at all levels, especially among staff practices observed by the authority on St Joseph's ward," Hiqa said about the Mater.
Overall the inspection team found cleaning in both St Joseph's and St Teresa's was not effectively managed and maintained to protect patients.
St Vincent's emergency department was also inspected and some sinks and areas around toilets were found to be dirty.
In St Patrick's ward an area in the nurses' station had unlocked cupboards used for storing medicine and antibiotics and needles and syringes were left loose on shelves.
A hall was cluttered with equipment, there was black mould in a shower room, lockers and bed and door frames were chipped and damaged and two broken plug sockets were being used.
A sticky residue was also found on a trolley used when medics are taking blood.
Both hospitals were given six weeks to improve standards.
During a separate inspection, Tallaght Hospital in Dublin was found to be generally clean but with a few exceptions.
On the hospital's Lane ward, inspectors found dusty surfaces, including a resuscitation trolley, stained radiators and black mould-like substance in shower rooms.
Health standards were breached in the treatment room, which was found to have some heavily damaged and soiled sections as well as black mould around a sink.
There were hazardous cleaning chemicals left unsecured with overfilled waste bags in a utility room.
Hiqa also said anti-infection measures in the isolation room were below par.
Black mould was also discovered in the showers area of the Osborne ward, which had a dirty floor in the treatment room and a heavily cluttered and unclean utility room.
Tallaght bosses have also been ordered to report back in improvement measures within six weeks.
Two wards inspected at Ennis Hospital were very clean with very few exceptions, said Hiqa.