"Leas Cross relatives need to be heard and to be given justice" - Ó Caoláin
Commenting on the publication of the report on deaths in the Leas Cross nursing home, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD stated:
"The publication of this Report serves as a further indictment of successive governments and Health Board/Health Service Executive bureaucracies who presided over a system which allowed the old and the vulnerable to be disgracefully neglected in nursing homes. There is no doubt that inadequate staffing, inadequate care and, most seriously, inadequate vigilance on behalf of State authorities led to the deaths of patients in Leas Cross and in other nursing homes.
"The terms of reference given to the author of the report Professor Des O'Neill were flawed as they provided for only a documentary inquiry. The relatives of the deceased were not given the opportunity to participate even though they have valuable evidence to give about the treatment of their loved ones. The Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney should provide a forum for the relatives to make this evidence available.
"In the wake of the initial exposé of the scandal of Leas Cross both Minister Harney and the Taoiseach promised a nursing homes inspectorate. This has not been delivered. The Government also needs to implement the recommendations of the National Economic and Social Forum report on the Care of Older People. It needs a clear strategy to end the over-reliance on private nursing homes for the care of older people and to ensure that all those who wish to be cared for in their own homes can be facilitated with the full support of all relevant State services."