One of the nursing homes worst hit by a deadly Covid-19 outbreak in the pandemic has been sold to a small nursing homes chain.
Dealgan House, in Dundalk, Co Louth has been bought by Curam Care Homes.
At least 22 residents died at Dealgan House last year. Many of the families who lost loved ones have since demanded to know how and why they died.
Many of those are among a wide network of families who lost loved ones around the country who want a full public inquiry into nursing homes deaths during the pandemic.
In all, more than 2,000 residents of such homes died during the pandemic.
In a letter to residents’ families, management at the home said: “It is with great sadness that I am informing you that we have decided that delegation house would best be served in future by a change in ownership.
“Many family-owned nursing homes have found it difficult to continue operating in a rapidly changing and challenging environment. As a result, nursing homes have been consolidating into a number of nursing home groups."
The letter said that the advantages of belonging to such a group include the home having access to shared resources, beyond the reach of a single home.
"Nursing homes groups have management structures in place, which supports their individual homes in providing high-quality care and meeting stringent regulatory requirements."
It describes Curam Care Homes, which has three other locations in Wexford, Wicklow, and Dublin as "a relatively small but expanding Irish owned and operated group, which very much shares the caring ethos on which Dealgan House was founded and run".
“We believe that being part of Curam Care Homes will bring a new impetus to Dealgan House and will enable it to further develop in a way that would not otherwise be possible.”
Louth Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú said: “I assume the new management and the old management will make it their business to talk to the families in the near future and answer all questions and all concerns.
He said in homes like Dealgan House, families need answers so as to have "some form of closure".
Curam Care Homes was unavailable for comment
Families who loved ones at Dealgan House say a recent programme on RTÉ's Prime Time "only bolsters the inalienable need for a public inquiry’" It detailed a number of allegations about care in homes including CareChoice Ballynoe Nursing Home in Upper Glanmire, Co Cork and Dealgan House.