He expressed his regret and frustration at the situation and that there has not been an improvement despite increased investment.
Phil Ni Sheaghdha, the newly-appointed general secretary of the union, said that on 28 and 29 December, 11 of the 29 hospitals used their full capacity protocol and placed extra patients on wards. "Minister Harris must take these figures on board when considering the future of Portlaoise Hospital", said the TD.
Paul is just one of the nearly 600 patients on trolleys in hospitals around the country today.
"I am committed to breaking the cycle of overcrowding in the health service".
"We are entering a hard few weeks and our health services are experiencing extra pressure because of the flu season".
She said that Mr Varadkar's "version of stability involves a 92 per cent bed occupancy on average, 500-plus patients waiting for admission on trolleys, nearly 700,000 patients waiting for an outpatient appointment, an ever-increasing number of cancelled operations and procedures, and a general practice system which is struggling to meet demand and is near to collapse".
Some 56 of those were stuck on a trolley or chair for more than 24 hours.
The overall figure for the country is 677 - which is a new record.
On the first week of 2017, there were 213 patients being treated on trolleys at the Dooradoyle hospital.
The figures released by the Irish Nurses' and Midwives' Organisation show that 592 patients were denied a hospital bed across the country.
The hospitals worst affected are University Hospital Limerick with 52 patients waiting, St Luke's in Kilkenny with 46 and Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore with 37.
Ms Fogarty, said that it is acknowledged that the hospital needs more acute beds but that "even if those beds were available tomorrow, there is a need for a more robust management system for admission and discharge of patients". Evidence also confirms that patients, admitted through overcrowded Emergency Departments have longer hospital stays.
She said: "This latest trolley crisis is a national disgrace and is intolerable for both patients and staff - but it is also absolutely predictable".
He said: "I am anxious about the spread of the flu when kids go back to school".
She urged parents not to send their children to school if they have flu symptoms.
MUH Clinical Director Dr Kieran O'Connor said: "In this context, visiting is being restricted to the hospital in the interest of patient safety".