FEARS are increasing that there will be a need for a second, separate inquiry into authorities’ failure to prevent Covid-19 clusters in nursing homes when it almost inevitably occurs a second time, even though the inquiry into how it happened the first time has yet to start.
“Feck sake, not another possibly avoidable batch of clusters? I’m only getting around to investigating how to sweep the damaging stuff from the first one under the carpet,” offered one official working in the government Whitewash department, trying to prepare for a nursing home inquiry recently recommended by a special Oireachtas committee in the initial Covid-19 response.
“There’s 20 counties with a 14-day incidence of in excess of 100 cases per 100,000 now. Do you know much harder it is to cover over all the mistakes authorities make with nursing homes now? People aren’t just going to buy ‘it’s all the public’s fault’ when we’ve known about Covid for 9 months now and we told people to get out there and die for the economy,” added the official.
AS CMO Tony Holohan warns that the increased presence of Covid-19 in the community makes it less likely the protective measures put in place at nursing homes will be enough to stop community transition in facilities.
“It’s important not to mix the two inquiries in together,” urged the Whitewash official, “plus first time out you can account for such a thing being unprecedented, but a second inquiry would see people held to a different standard; I mean, sleepwalking into the same a second time around is surely criminal, but I’m sort of intrigued to see which ineptitude led to avoidable death this time”.
Asked when the inquiry into how Covid-19 was allowed to spread in Direct Provision centres paid for by the state, in which guidelines are still routinely ignored by operators to the detriment of residents, the relevant government departments just laughed.