Ex-director of nursing home who left country denies theft
Published 31/01/2012 | 05:00
A FORMER nursing home director who left the country is denying allegations of theft made against her by relatives of elderly residents.
Miriam Holmes and her daughter Hayley, who ran the Avondale nursing home in Callan, Co Kilkenny, are blaming "financial difficulties" for the facility's closure.
The nursing home was permanently closed on August 2 after an inspection by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) found patients were being discharged in an unsafe manner.
While the watchdog was on site investigating the complaints, the directors of the home left the country, forcing the HSE to take it over until it was closed some weeks later.
Under the Health Act 2007, six months' notice should be given to HIQA ahead of any closure.
Miriam and Hayley Holmes moved to Melbourne in Australia where they were working for another nursing home for a number of months until their employment was terminated in recent weeks.
Gardai are now investigating if the pair had been given clearance by the Irish authorities to work in the Australian home run by Craigcare.
Yesterday, a solicitor for Miriam Holmes, Patrick Moylan from O'Kelly-Moylan solicitors in Co Clare, contacted the Irish Independent on her behalf to state that she would co-operate with the garda probe.
Allegations have been made that thousands of euro are missing from the bank accounts of residents along with medication and public service cards. "Miriam denies them (allegations of theft)," he said.
Mr Moylan said he had been in contact with the investigation team and had offered assistance in dealing with the complaints.
He said that Miriam Holmes had "consented" to HIQA taking over and the welfare of residents was her "primary concern".
"What happened was this was the result of a company in financial difficulties, rather than having those financial difficulties affecting the welfare of residents, she had to ensure it was protected."
He added: "She, as a nurse and a human, was at all times focused on the care of residents.
"Fundamentally this nursing home wasn't being run by Miriam Holmes, it was run by Avondale Nursing Home Ltd," he said.
The Irish Independent understands that Miriam and Hayley Holmes were heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the business -- and as former directors of the home.