'We just want to know how our parents died': Families to meet HSE chief over nursing home deaths

'We just want to know how our parents died': Families to meet HSE chief over nursing home deaths

Families who lost loved ones in last year’s deadly Dealgan House Covid-19 outbreak are to meet HSE chief Paul Reid in a bid to get answers about how their relatives died.

Families who lost loved ones in last year’s deadly Dealgan House Covid-19 outbreak are to meet HSE chief Paul Reid in a bid to get answers about how their relatives died.

Families say they are still looking for basic information about the day-to-day care of their loved ones before they died. They hope the virtual meeting, which is scheduled for July 20, will help shed light on the tragic deaths of around 22 residents in the Dundalk, Co Louth home last year.

The families also say they still don’t know what exactly the Department of Health, the HSE, and Hiqa, the health watchdog, knew about the private nursing home before residents started dying of Covid and what actions the various agencies took.

'When did officials become aware there were issues?'

The meeting with Mr Reid follows on from a number of meetings families have had with a variety of health service-related chiefs including Ian Carter, CEO of the RCSI Hospitals Group which took over the running of the home during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The meeting with Mr Reid follows on from a number of meetings families have had with a variety of health service-related chiefs
The meeting with Mr Reid follows on from a number of meetings families have had with a variety of health service-related chiefs

During a special committee on Covid-19 response debate on May 26 last year, Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Ruairí Ó Murchú,  asked exactly when did Hiqa and the HSE become aware of issues in the home.

He and other TDs, including Fine Gael's Fergus O’Dowd, have also asked what exactly did both organisations do once they realised there were issues in the home.

'We just can't get answers'

Ann Cleary, whose 95-year-old mother Florrie died last year, said: “The meeting with Mr Reid is the latest in a series of meetings we have had to try and get to the bottom of what happened to our parents.

“We are more than a year into this and the picture of what happened is as blurred as it has ever been.

For some reason, we just can’t get the answers we want but we are never going to let this lie until we do.

“The lack of clarity, even as this stage into our fight for just that — clarity — just makes us more determined than ever before.” Ann, who last saw her mother alive on March 8, found out “without any warning” her mother had died on April 24, last year.

'Lack of information adding insult to injury'

Vivienne McNally, whose father Dominic died on April 17, 2020, said: “I still don’t know some very, very basic things about the care of my father before he died.

“In this day and age, why is that? It’s not for want of trying. It’s not right and what we have had to go through is totally unacceptable.

Whatever we feel about the deaths of our parents is one thing, but to find it so hard to get basic details is just adding insult to injury time, and time again. 

A HSE spokesperson confirmed the July 20 meeting with Mr Reid. It comes as another meeting with nursing home families is due to happen on Monday.

This is the meeting between representatives of families in a variety of homes, including Ballynoe in north Co Cork, and Mary Butler, the junior minister with responsibility for older persons.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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