Nursing home calls in army but hits out at social media commentary 

Nursing home calls in army but hits out at social media commentary 

Photo: Sam Boal/

The chairperson of a Co Clare nursing home, which is in the midst of Covid-19 outbreak, has hit out at "completely inaccurate" social media claims that staff had walked out of the facility. 

Cahercalla Community Hospital and Hospice in Ennis has 19 confirmed cases of Covid among residents, with a number of staff out on Covid-related leave.

It is one of three nursing homes in Munster receiving assistance from the Defence Forces for non-clinical duties, such as meal preparation, with the other two in Cork.

Dr Michael Harty, Chairperson of the Cahercalla Board, addressed concerns, following a video which was published on social media. 

The video made claims that management had walked out and there were food shortages at the facility, which Dr Harty claims is untrue. 

The chairperson did confirm the outbreak, with 19 residents currently infected, however, he added: “What went up on social media — its tone and its content — was completely inaccurate. It was speaking about the management having walked out of the nursing home which was completely untrue."

He added that the centre is currently receiving assistance from the HSE and confirmed the presence of the army on-site, saying the alternative “was to bring in volunteers”, a move which was deemed unsafe.

Dr Harty confirmed the first vaccinations took place at Cahercalla yesterday after the schedule was moved forward from January 22.

A spokesperson for the Defence Forces confirmed that following a request for the HSE, Óglaigh na hÉireann deployed over 25 soldiers to nursing homes in Ballincollig and Douglas and Ennis.

“These soldiers, based in Collins Barracks Cork and Sarsfield Barracks Limerick, will be deployed daily over the coming weeks to assist nursing home staff with non-clinical general duties,” the spokesperson said.

"This is a positive move,” Mr Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Home Ireland, who said he understands the Defence Forces are assisting with catering in Cahercalla.  

Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard addressed rumours that there were food shortages, which she said was completely inaccurate, and confirmed the presence of the army outside the facility, while also moving to reassure worried locals. “This is not Washington, this is not the Capitol, there are five lads outside,” she said.

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