15 Aug 2022

Families of those who died in Dealgan House reiterate call for public inquiry into nursing homes

The families issued a statement after a documentary was aired on RTÉ last night

Families of those who died in Dealgan House reiterate call for public inquiry into nursing homes

Dealgan House nursing home in Dundalk

Families of those who died due to Covid-19 outbreaks in Dealgan House are continuing to call for a public inquiry in the wake of an RTÉ Investigates documentary on nursing homes during the pandemic.

The nursing home in Toberona was one of the worst hit nursing homes in Ireland last year, with 22 residents passing away due to Covid-19.

The families have said that they are “saddened but not surprised” by what the documentary reveals, saying that it bolsters the need for a public inquiry into the private nursing home sector, not just in Dundalk, but across the country.

“We watched with sadness, but not surprise, the RTÉ Investigates programme on the nursing home sector. It showed how tragic events unfolded because of the weak policies in place around the private nursing home sector,” said the families in a statement.

They said that their concerns were raised with multiple state bodies and actors, like TD’s, HIQA and the HSE, and that they are still having to engage with them, 14 months on.

“Trying to gather pieces of information, through Freedom of Information requests, in order to put together a picture of what happened in Dealgan, has been time-consuming and frustrating to say the least.

“The efforts we have made as families have been done against the very difficult background of our personal grief at losing our loved ones.

The group say that they are continuing to wait for a formal decision from the Louth coroner on whether or not an inquest will be held, and that they are still waiting for a response from Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

“We continue to wait for a substantive response from Health Minister Stephen Donnelly about our pleas for a public inquiry, despite having met him to put our case to him in October last year.”

The families say that the state needs to “face up” to the gaps that are in the legislative framework to protect those living in nursing homes.

“The truth must be discovered, heard and learned from.”

Previously, Dealgan House have said that they would cooperate with any inquiry that the Government decided upon.

In a statement to The Democrat, Eoin Farrelly, managing director at Dealgan House said that the nursing home remains saddened by the deaths of 22 residents last year.

"Dealgan House Nursing Home remains deeply saddened by the loss of 22 residents due to Covid-19 during our outbreak in April and May of last year," said Mr Farrelly

"Over the last fourteen months we have engaged at length with any relatives of those who passed away who may have questions and we continue to do so."

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