Alliance Party and SDLP back commissioner’s calls for public inquiry into Covid in Northern Ireland care homes

The Alliance Party and SDLP have come out in support of calls for a dedicated NI public inquiry into the handling of Covid in care homes.

By Philip Bradfield
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 7:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th April 2022, 8:02 pm

On Wednesday Commissioner for Older People in NI Eddie Lynch renewed his call for a public inquiry after a High Court ruling which found Government policies on discharging patients from hospital to care homes in the pandemic were unlawful.

The High Court in England ruled that discharging hospital patients into care homes at the start of the pandemic undermined Government claims that a “protective ring” was put in place for the most vulnerable.

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw backed the commissioner’s call.

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Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland

“The same mistakes made in England were made in Northern Ireland,” she said. “Bereaved families here deserve the opportunity to tell their stories and should be allowed the comfort of knowing that lessons will be learnt..

“Patients should never have been discharged to care homes without rigorous testing in place and lives will have been lost as a result. This should never be allowed to occur again, and that’s why our Alliance manifesto is committed to a full public inquiry into the pandemic response in care homes.

“Those who lost their loved ones in this way deserve to know why these decisions were taken and exactly what went wrong.”

SDLP Deputy Leader and North Belfast assembly candidate Nichola Mallon said: “During the covid pandemic unprecedented decisions were taken by all Ministers which hugely impacted on people’s lives and livelihoods and vast sums of public money were spent. Northern Ireland should have its own thorough Public Inquiry into the handling of Covid.”