May 28, 2020
Réada Cronin TD expresses sympathies at North Kildare Covid-19 deaths

Speaking following a publication in the Irish Times on deaths in Nursing Homes, Sinn Féin TD for Kildare North Réada Cronin has expressed her sympathies to the families bereaved in Kildare North after the constituency featured so prominently in the fatality figures of Covid-19.

Teachta Cronin said;

“The figures published on 28th May reveal a shocking deficit on the part of the state to protect our vulnerable citizens in nursing homes. These are people’s parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles.

“My colleague Louise O’Reilly has requested that the chair of the Covid-19 Committee write to the HSE and the Dept of Health to call them back over the report as the committee had previously been told they didn’t have the figures that were published this morning. The inconsistency in the information from the Dept of Health and the HSE is worrying and detrimental to public trust.

“There is mounting acknowledgement that Nursing Homes were left to fend for themselves early on in the pandemic. Many reports indicate that through lack of testing the virus was brought into some nursing homes.

“A lot of nursing homes lost a number of staff to illness during the pandemic. Over 73,000 people applied to “Be on Call for Ireland” yet figures earlier this month indicate that less than 100 had been placed into healthcare positions. This is hard to imagine given so many nursing homes needed staff to fill in for those unable to work.

“Nursing Homes Ireland reported nursing homes having difficulty getting PPE after the HSE purchased most of the stock in the state leaving nursing homes without in many cases.

“The staff in these Nursing Homes have been to hell and back caring for patients they treat as family. HSE must not continue to let them down. Staff, many on low wages, will be traumatised and should be offered any necessary counselling.

“We have a habit of saying this must never happen again in Ireland. This is not about blame but the only way we can make sure it does not happen again is by insisting on accountability. I agree with Pearse Doherty that this will likely need an inquiry.

“There was evidently a very slow response from the HSE to the crisis. Given the vulnerability of the age profile of most patients they should have been the priority.

“The Coronavirus is still here, and we must not neglect our elderly and vulnerable if or when there is a second surge. We must ensure we do not suffer such an unnecessary loss of life again.”

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