May 28, 2020
Top HSE and Department of Health officials must come before Covid-19 Committee on nursing homes failure – Louise O’Reilly TD

Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD has said that she has written to the Cathaoirleach of the Dail’s Covid-19 Committee to request that HSE and Department of Health officials come before the Covid-19 Committee to present evidence and answer questions regarding the failure of the State to plan for and to protect the care home sector.

She said:

“This morning, Sinn Féin’s members of the Dail’s Covid-19 Committee have written to the Cathaoirleach of the Committee to request that Mr. Paul Reid, CEO of the HSE, and Mr. Jim Breslin, Secretary General of the Department of Health, are called as witnesses before the Committee at the earliest available opportunity.

“Information published and reported on over the past 24-hours regarding the wholesale failure of the nursing home sector has significantly escalated the necessity of their appearance.

“The data released by the HSE and published by in the media today reveals a shocking failure by the State to plan for and to protect the nursing home and long-term residential care sector. The fatality figures released reveal the shocking human cost of this failure.

“In addition to this, both the Department of Health and the HSE have been putting conflicting information into the public domain regarding nursing homes. This practice is incredibly damaging to public trust and to the work of the Dáil’s Covid-19 Committee.

“It is clear from the Committee’s hearing on Tuesday, and from the information published in the media today, that the lack of a structural plan to protect the whole nursing home and long-term residential care sectors is at the root of the crisis which has ripped through care homes in our communities.

“It is imperative that we – as the Committee tasked to ‘consider and take evidence on the State’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic’ – investigates these latest developments and that we hear from Mr. Reid and Mr. Breslin as a matter of urgency.

“To that ends, I hope the Cathaoirleach and the Committee will agree to this request.”

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