The wheels of government turn slowly but surely, goes the saying. But this does not apply to the HSE. At the moment, it seems it doesn't really have a clue what it is doing in response to the growing employers' liability crisis.

One moment it plans to set up a steering group to examine the matter. And claims to have plans which are far enough advanced to include participants and the date of the first meeting. The next minute, it says it has done nothing.

"It is too early to say we have specifically done X, Y or Z. It is a complicated issue and needs to be explored," says a HSE spokesman.

"Nothing has been done yet. We have no timescales to work to and no answers at this stage."