Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín has said the mismanagement of the covid-19 pandemic in nursing homes is a “national scandal” and called for a public invesigation into the matter.

The Meath West TD also criticised the response of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar during Leaders Questions, and stated that the families of victims, and residents of nursing homes deserved better than good counting of who died from Covid-19. Deputy Tóibín said that over 62% of Covid-19 deaths occurred in nursing homes against an international average of 25%.

“When I raised the issue of how the mistreatment and mismanagement of our nursing homes was wrong and  indictment of his government policy, the Tánaiste deflected and instead praised both himself and his government for doing a better job counting cases and deaths than others. This is has been the stock answer from the Táiniste and the former Minister for Health. Surely, However WHO Special Envoy on Covid-19, Dr Nabarro has said Ireland are in the ‘upper end’ in terms of nursing home deathThe families of those who have died and those still in resident in nursing homes deserve more from the government than their ability to count,” he said.

“The Nursing Homes of Ireland were an afterthought, they did not received the attention or resources that they needed. Those most at risk were most exposed. They were failed by the government. The CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland were unable to make contact with the Minister for Health as the pandemic worsened. The government issued laxer guidelines on visitors than nursing homes themselves, as the virus spread worsened. A member of the Irish Medical Council resigned over the government’s disregard for the nursing homes during the pandemic,” the Aontú leader continued.

“Only last week, a 79 year old man in my constituency died with maggots in his facial wound – two weeks after his wife reported her concerns about him. Yet there is no investigation from the Department of Health, the HSE or HIQA. The truth about the extent of the spread in nursing homes, the deaths in nursing homes and the failures of the government is a national scandal and must be examined and investigated to ensure that they never occur again.”