Dáil debates

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Ceisteanna - Questions

Programme for Government

4:35 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

My point, arising from what happened with Covid-19 in the nursing homes sector and from the Caritas and St. Mary's situation, is that we have a completely fragmented nursing home care sector. Some of it is good and some of it is not so good, but we are in control of hardly any of it. The nuns in this case seem to have turned into property magnates and to have lost any interest in the workers or the residents in the nursing homes. They just decided to close it down because it is valuable land and they can flog it, and that is allowed. This should be part of a cradle-to-grave national health service, yet its fate is decided by the Sisters of Charity, who have just become big business and see property value as more important than nursing home care, which was what was being delivered, and a good standard too, but the workers are just gone and the residents and their families are left high and dry. That is not acceptable. We need intervention. The State should just take that land and make sure those nursing home places and jobs are protected. That is the lesson more broadly of the Covid crisis. Paul Reid said it at some of the briefings the Taoiseach attended. When we asked him what was happening in the nursing homes, he more or less said he did not know because the HSE only controls 20% of them. That is the problem. They need to be part of a national health service so we know what is going on and we have the power to step in and ensure consistency, standards, proper resourcing and oversight.


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