17 May 2022

Local TD's call on Health Minister to begin a public inquiry into Dealgan House nursing home deaths

Local TD's call on Health Minister to begin a public inquiry into deaths at Dealgan House nursing home last year

Dealgan House nursing home in Dundalk

Multiple TD’s in Louth have called for the Government to start a public inquiry into what happened in Dealgan House, where 22 residents died due to Covid-19.

Sinn Féin’s Ruairí Ó Murchú and Fine Gael’s Fergus O’Dowd used their time during a Dáil session on the vaccine rollout to pressure Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to begin the process of a public inquiry as soon as possible.

Deputy O’Dowd asked the Minister about the “appaling” number of deaths at Dealgan House and that there needed to be an inquiry.

According to O’Dowd, two witnesses said that they are willing to give evidence on Dealgan House to an inquiry.

“The Minister needs to grab this in both hands, have those inquiries, and meet the needs of the families,” said Deputy O’Dowd.

“Dealgan House Nursing Home cries out. It is the only nursing home in which the State intervened to take over management.”

Deputy Ó Murchú, speaking in the Dáil, said that there needed to be a “full inquiry” into what happened at Dealgan House.

“We know the issues in relation to the Covid period. I think everyone is in agreement that there needs to be an inquiry into that period, particularly regarding nursing homes and what the State did or did not do,” said Ó Murchú.

“The Minister will not be shocked, having met the Dealgan House families. He knows the tragedy, the huge loss of life and the impact on a huge number of families who are still looking for answers.”

“I can only see the answer being a full public inquiry. There is a huge number of players and everybody has a right to their narrative.”

Ó Murchú called for all stakeholders to be involved in the inquiry, including the likes of Dealgan House staff, the HSE, HIQA, RCSI hospital group, former Minister for Health Simon Harris and the CMO Dr Tony Holohan.

“I would like the Minister to return to the families. He has told them they need to be given some mechanism to provide answers and an inquiry is the only way to do it.”

Dealgan House has previously said that it would comply fully with any investigation or inquiry.

Eoin Farrelly, Managing Director at the nursing home said in a statement to the Democrat that Dealgan House is still saddened by the death of 22 residents.

“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.”

“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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