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Holding our leaders and experts to account will ensure they reach the right decisions

Ronan Mullen


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Rising to the occasion: Health Minister Simon Harris has stepped up, but that doesn’t mean he and others shouldn’t face hard questions about their decisions. Photo: Frank McGrath

Rising to the occasion: Health Minister Simon Harris has stepped up, but that doesn’t mean he and others shouldn’t face hard questions about their decisions. Photo: Frank McGrath

Rising to the occasion: Health Minister Simon Harris has stepped up, but that doesn’t mean he and others shouldn’t face hard questions about their decisions. Photo: Frank McGrath

Last weekend, a close friend and I had a serious discussion. Should people be encouraged to take their loved ones out of nursing homes? Should the Government say this? We discussed the panic such a statement might cause. The distress to people in no position to care for loved ones. The high-dependency cases who couldn't be moved anyway. And the cases where it would be too late, because Covid-19 has already taken hold.

But the question was real for us. My friend is worried about a relative living in a home with many elderly people, some of whom are sick. There are many different carers and other staff coming in and out of the place, a source of huge anxiety.

She is upset that people weren't aware of the danger in nursing homes until it was too late. Journalists have only recently started asking, and are only now being told, about the number of Covid-19 deaths in the homes. I am not blaming the media.