The Council for Healthcare of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, chaired by Bishop Michael Router, has called for inquiries into how COVID-19 so badly affected nursing homes.

At the outset of the statement the council acknowledged the tireless work of frontline healthcare workers throughout the pandemic, and called for prayers for those who are grieving the loss of relatives and friends to COVID-19.

Bishops highlighted the fact that the most vulnerable in our society have been impacted the most by the pandemic, as over half of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes across the island.

Bishops continued, “We would welcome appropriate inquiries into the reasons why nursing care facilities were so badly affected. Lessons must be learned. More and more people will be availing of nursing care in the years ahead. Nursing homes should be prioritised by the State to ensure that they have the personnel and equipment necessary to deal with such crisis situations as soon as they arise.

“Every resident is someone’s mother, father, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or friend. They have played their part over many decades in contributing to their communities and to the economy. The lives of those who live in such facilities should be valued, respected, and enhanced.”

In conclusion, bishops said, “Human life is sacred and precious from the child in the womb to the elderly person in care. We must do all that we can to protect life and to improve the quality of life for those who are particularly vulnerable. At this time, the coronavirus crisis presents an opportunity for society to reflect on where it stands in relation to the elderly and to others who are most vulnerable among us. The lessons learned will enable us to build a culture of life and care where everyone is supported and all are entitled to life-protecting services and facilities.”

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