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20 Aug 2022

Families of loved-ones who died at Dealgan House "deeply disappointed" at lack on inquiry

Families of loved-ones who died at Dealgan House "deeply disappointed" at lack on inquiry

Relatives of those who died in Dealgan House

The families of people who died in Dealgan House Nursing Home in Dundalk during a Covid 19 outbreak last year have expressed their ‘deep disappointment’ with health minister Stephen Donnelly as their request for a public inquiry has gone unanswered after a year.

On October 28 2020, a number of the families from the nursing home, where 22 people died from Covid 19 in April and May last year, met with Minister Donnelly and Minister of State Mary Butler, along with officials from the Department of Health.

At the online meeting, the ministers heard heart-breaking stories of how families were left struggling for answers after their loved ones died during the devastating Covid 19 outbreak.

The families pleaded with the ministers to green-light a public inquiry into how so many people died in the nursing home, which was the only one in the State where a hospital group took over operational control.

Minister Donnelly said he would consider their testimony and would go back to the families ‘in a matter of weeks’.

However, 12 months later, the Dealgan families have not received a substantive response to their request, despite numerous follow-up letters to the ministers, who have replied that the matter is still under consideration.

In a statement, the Dealgan families said: "We went to the meeting with Ministers Donnelly and Butler in good faith.

"We told them what had happened to our loved ones and the devastating impact that it had on us, and on the wider community.

"We laid out the case for a public inquiry to the ministers, highlighted all the questions that have arisen because of what we have found out through Freedom of Information and argued that there is a huge need for a public inquiry because lessons need to be learned for the future.

"Minister Donnelly said he would come back to us with an answer in a matter of weeks, but a year later, there still is no answer. In the meantime, we have met with every conceivable official including HSE CEO Paul Reid, who was not able to directly answer our questions.

"The lack of response from Minister Donnelly is deeply disappointing to us and makes us wonder whether the government is serious about learning lessons from this pandemic."

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