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22 May 2022

Louth TD says commission of inquiry into Dealgan Nursing Home 'is essential'

Deputy O'Dowd asks Taoiseach to establish inquiry

Louth TD pushes for commission of inquiry into Covid related deaths at Dealgan House

Louth TD pushes for commission of inquiry into Covid related deaths at Dealgan House

Louth Fine Gael TD, Fergus O’Dowd, has said that a government appointed commission of enquiry is essential to find the truth on the significant loss of life in Dealgan House Nursing Home, during the initial wave of covid in 2020, and that "anything less than an enquiry would be an entirely unacceptable outcome."

Deputy O'Dowd was commenting today, following a Dáil exchange yesterday with Taoiseach Michaál Martin, where the Taoiseach said that he is not convinced that a commission of inquiry is the "optimal way" to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 23 residents from Covid, in Dealgan House Nursing Home in Dundalk.

The Taoiseach was responding to Deputy O'Dowd's request that the Taoiseach establish a commission of inquiry into "all of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 23 residents from Covid in Dealgan House nursing home in April 2020".

In his response to Deputy O'Dowd, the Taoiseach said that he is "not convinced that commissions of inquiries are the optimal way to investigate these issues. They go on much longer than people anticipate or expect."

He added that the Department of Health is "examining a variety of options as to how best to respect and meet the needs and concerns of families of those affected."

In a statement today to the Dundalk Democrat, Deputy O'Dowd said that, “anything less than an enquiry would be an entirely unacceptable outcome, Dealgan was the only home out of 460 nationally that was taken over by the HSE in April 2020 as the situation had become so desperate for residents."

He continued, "HSE reports indicate that on the 7th of April the Nursing Home had no GP physically in the building and that GPs would not come into the building due to Covid, also that staff and management were seemingly overwhelmed and staffing levels did not appear adequate. 

“Anything less than a full investigation into Dealgan House would be a grave error in my opinion, the family need the full unedited facts that led to the terrible loss of life of 23 residents during the initial wave. 

“I will be strongly campaigning that a commission of enquiry similar to that of Leas Cross be established with a short defined timeline, we already have possession of a number of incredibly concerning reports which were sought through Freedom of Information requests. 

“We now require the power to compel witnesses to present and provide their insight so that we can finally to get to the bottom of what exactly took place."

Deputy O’Dowd added, “the families must be placed front and centre in any enquiry. “We can have no more excuses, no more procrastination, the truth must be told and families must be heard.”

 

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