Concerns have been raised following recent revelations that three former residents of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea each passed away within weeks of being transferred from the facility.
The residents had been among those transferred from the unit in recent months following the HSE’s decision to close the accommodation.
Independent TD Denis Naughten said he had brought the issue to the attention of the HSE’s Confidential Recipient Leigh Gath.
“I received information regarding the very high death rate (among residents) post-transfer from the Rosalie Unit. I subsequently brought it to the Confidential Recipient’s awareness and the need to have a full investigation.
“She informed me that she doesn’t have investigative powers but she could seek a report from the HSE. It raises very serious questions; these issues need to be fully addressed,” he said.
Deputy Naughten said he had previously raised formal complaints from Rosalie residents and their families regarding informed consent and engagement with the HSE.
“I felt I had already expressed concerns to Junior Health Minister Jim Daly, Health Minister Simon Harris, the Taoiseach and the HSE.
“On foot of specific complaints I took this matter to the Confidential Recipient, Leigh Gath. Based on those complaints I believed it warranted that referral,” he said.
According to Deputy Naughten, the Confidential Recipient also requested direct complaints from family members. A number of family members came forward.
Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy said questions needed to be asked regarding the decision to move residents in the first instance.
“The fact that three former residents of the Rosalie Unit have passed away in recent weeks is troubling my mind every single day. I have no question over the level of care afforded to those patients once they were moved to their respective accommodation.
“However, I’m wondering if it’s time to place some questions to the Minister for Health and the HSE over their insistence to move those vulnerable people out of what was their home for a lifetime. They (the Minister and the HSE) refused to listen to staff, family members and political representatives, who all stated this was not way to proceed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin spokesperson Claire Kerrane said Rosalie Unit residents and their families have been let down by local public representatives.
“We cannot begin to imagine the upheaval caused to the residents of the Rosalie Unit as they were moved away from the place that they called home and how they must have felt.
“It is so sad to think that out of the residents moved to date, three have died. Of course, the Rosalie families warned of this. Indeed, I recall one family member saying that her brother felt the only place he would be going (after Rosalie) would be the local cemetery.
“The residents and their families put their faith in local politicians and despite all of the talk, they have been failed,” she said.