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Councillors back cross-party calls for Dealgan House public inquiry

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Councillors at Louth County Council’s monthly meeting on Monday unanimously supported a motion to call for the public inquiry into the deaths of 22 people at Dealgan House Nursing Home.

Sinn Féin councillor Edel Corrigan tabled a motion calling on the council to supports families’ calls for the government to establish a public inquiry following the deaths of 22 people during a Covid-19 outbreak at Dealgan House Nursing Home in the Spring of this year.

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Fine Gael councillor Maria Doyle had tabled a similar motion, asking that the council call on the Chief Executive of the HSE to meet with relatives of residents of the Dealgan House Nursing Home who died from Covid 19.

“The families of those who died are seeking answers to their questions regarding what happened, when it happened and how it happened. If the HSE will not meet with the relatives and provide them with this information, then the only way the full facts can be established is by way of a public inquiry,” her motion read.

Cllr Doyle requested that standing orders – the business of the meeting as scheduled by the agenda – were suspended briefly during the meeting so that the motion be discussed at the outset of the meeting, rather than dealt with briefly at the end as is when the motions are traditionally heard.

“The families of the residents who died there during the pandemic have been left bereft and distressed by what has took place. They believe there was a disparity between what they were told was happening and what was actually happening,” Cllr Doyle said.

“They need to get to the bottom of what exactly happened during the Covid-19 outbreak and the only way to do that is a public inquiry. The Minister for Health and the Head of the RSCI Hospital have agreed to meet with the families, via Zoom. Hopefully that will happen soon.

“Without an actual public inquiry into the events that took place, the families of those that took place will not get peace and will not get answers that they deserve to get.”

Cllr Corrigan added: “We as public representatives need to show our support for the families. There were 22 people who died between April and May. There have been no inquests into the deaths so its really up to us as public representatives to help them get a public inquest to ensure they get the answers they need.

“It is a very stressful time without having the lack of knowledge of what happened, who made the decisions, how they were made and what decisions were taken. In order to give closure and support those families, we need to support those families of those who died in Dealgan House.”

Last month, Sinn Féin TD Ruairi O Murchu reiterated calls for Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to publish the expert review into Dealgan House nursing home in Dundalk, saying the system ‘ailed to properly clinically oversee nursing homes and there was a chronic lack of communication infrastructure between the HSE, the Department of Health and homes.”

In July, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he was in possession of the HIQA report into Dealgan House and added that it would be made public but it has yet to be published.

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