Families of Dealgan House residents who died during the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020 have written to the HSE chief, Paul Reid, appealing for documentation held in relation to that tragic time to be released.
Dealgan House in Toberona was one of the worst hit nursing homes during the first wave of the pandemic, with 23 residents dying from Covid-19.
Relatives who lost loved ones have been campaigning for a public inquiry into what happened at the nursing home in the Spring of 2020.
Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú has been assisting families in their campaign, and last week wrote to the CEO of the HSE with a direct appeal on their behalf.
"We are sending this on behalf of the Dealgan families group who are still seeking to establish the truth of what unfolded at Dealgan House from March - May 2020.”
The letter continued “We are still seeking the truth and information on the conditions and circumstances of our loved ones. In response to our repeated requests for the truth as to the details of what triggered the RCSI Hospital Group to assume operational control on 17/4/20 no one from the HSE including you responded.”
The families say they have welcomed recent comments by Mr. Reid saying that the HSE was working to ‘improve accountability.’
“Such a culture is to be welcomed. However we are struck by the fact that our request for the truth including as to why the RCSI Hospital Group finally decided to assume operational control on 17/4/20 was met with silence.”
“On behalf of the Dealgan families and in the light of your ambitions of transparency I request that you release to us the following: All documents held by CHO8 regarding and involving Dealgan House from March 2020 to June 2020. We have of course sough this under FOI legislation (a number outstanding and a number subject to appeals)."
In the letter the families say “We believe that you have the authority to release these documents to us directly and request that you do so. Our experience is that CHO8 are extremely reluctant to release any documentation to us. The documents have we believe already been gathered and possibly archived.”
They added that there was now an opportunity to strengthen levels of accountability in the HSE.
“We think it would be a substantial achievement to ensure accountability, transparency and remove what we have experienced as a 'closing down' when questions are raised. You have an opportunity to set a standard for this in releasing to us the documents requested. We hope you do so.”
“We want to acknowledge the hard work of so many individuals in the HSE and to thank them in what continues to be harrowing circumstances.”