Monday 26 February 2018

Decision to separate elderly couple in nursing home care 'devoid of common sense and humanity' – Taoiseach tells Dáil

Michael (89) and Kathleen (86) Devereaux, who have been married for 63 years, are heartbroken after one was accepted for a Fair Deal scheme but the other was rejected
Michael (89) and Kathleen (86) Devereaux, who have been married for 63 years, are heartbroken after one was accepted for a Fair Deal scheme but the other was rejected
John Downing

John Downing

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has utterly condemned the health services’ decision to separate a couple in nursing home care who had married for 63 years.

“It was a decision which was devoid of humanity and devoid of common sense,” Mr Varadkar told the Dáil.  He said investigations were now being undertaken to establish just how the situation arose.

The Taoiseach told Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald that the couple involved would soon be reunited and he welcomed the direct intervention of Health Minister, Simon Harris, in the case.

Ms McDonald raised the case of  Michael and Kathleen Devereaux in Co Wexford who had been separated after assessment for nursing home care.

She cited Michael’s heart-breaking explanations of his plight on RTÉ radio’s Joe Duffy programme.  After the assessment Michael, aged 89 was accepted, but Kathleen, aged 86, was rejected, and he was now left occupying a double-bedroom on his own.

Labour leader and Wexford TD, Brendan Howlin, welcomed broadcaster Joe Duffy’s intervention.  He said he had been advocating for these people who his local constituents since last February.

Mr Howlin demanded to know how many other similar cases occurred.

The Taoiseach said there were considerable improvements in elderly care in recent months after extra budgets were made available. He said he would look to see what lessons can be learnt.

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