Laois-Offaly TD criticises Covid-19 testing in Portlaoise where nine people have died

Fianna Fáil TD extends condolences

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Sean Fleming

Sean Fleming TD and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly, Seán Fleming, has expressed his sympathies with the loved ones of those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in the Maryborough Centre in St Fintan’s Hospital in Portlaoise town but he has also criticised 

 “This is a very tough time for family and friends who had to watch from afar as their loved ones got sick and passed away from this virus. They are not able to mourn the death of their loved one surrounded by family and friends as is so common of the typical Irish funeral.

“Our thanks go out to the staff of the Maryborough Centre who looked after them in their final moments. All over the country nursing home and residential care facility staff have been to the forefront in tackling this virus, they have been crying out for more support and they are mentally and physically exhausted,” he said.

Deputy Fleming said it is disgraceful that the remaining residents in the Maryborough Centre have not been tested yet and said the ‘wait and see’ approach taken by the HSE was not good enough.

“Nationwide, half of all deaths as a result of Covid-19 have occurred in nursing homes and residential care facilities. Clusters are breaking out every day and it is obvious that these facilities are disproportionately affected.

“The HSE response, which is to wait and see if residents have any symptoms before testing is clearly not working and is only serving to undermine public confidence in the testing regime.

“There are approximately 25,000 residents in nursing homes and residential care facilities. It’s clear that they are all vulnerable and in a high-risk category. They should all be tested immediately. This could be done in one week if the HSE’s target of 5,000 tests per day was met.

“The overall response to this virus has been very positive but we do not want to look back on this and regret not getting the testing regime right. There is still time to enhance testing and it should begin with nursing home and residential care residents,” he concluded.