Answers needed on Devereux case- Howlin

27 June 2017

Labour leader, Brendan Howlin TD, has called on the Government to urgently clarify how a decision was made to separate an elderly couple for the first time in over 60 years under the Fair Deal scheme.

Deputy Howlin raised the case of Michael and Kathleen Devereux with the Taoiseach in the Dáil today.

Deputy Howlin said:

“To use the Taoiseach’s words, the decision to separate a couple aged in their late eighties for the first time in more than 60 years was not only ‘wrong’ but actually ‘inhumane’ and quite rightly ‘lacking in common-sense’.

“While I welcome his compassionate response on this matter, the Taoiseach now needs to clarify why this decision was made in the first place, and under what rules HSE staff were abiding by that resulted in the Devereuxs ever being treated in this way by the State.

“I have been raising this case since April of this year, but it took attention through the national media for any arm of the state to realise the complete lack of compassion with which the Devereux family have been treated.

“We also need to know how many other elderly couples are right now in a similar situation around the country, as age advocacy groups have indicated that this is not an uncommon situation.

“It is clear that a cultural change is needed within the HSE in terms of how it makes these types of decisions, with a clear need for compassion and common sense to prevail in cases like these.

“On a week that we have also read reports of older people being taken advantage of by nursing homes that are charging them for activities they are not even taking part in, we have to ask what sort of message are we sending on how we treat our older citizens?

“The Government now needs to get to the bottom of what happened in the Devereux case and reassure the public that such a situation will not be allowed to happen again. There can be no more Michael and Kathleens forced to take to the national airwaves to guarantee a ‘fair deal’ from the State.”

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