The HSE says 20 per cent of personal protective equipment that's arrived in Ireland so far is not suitable for general healthcare use.
Millions of euro worth of PPE has already been flown here from China for use by medical staff.
But the HSE says a fifth of it - mainly masks - doesn't meet their requirements.
It insists some of the equipment could be used for other purposes, such as in isolation facilities.
CEO Paul Reid says they've tried to make sure this doesn't happen again: