Sinn Féin Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described the forced closure and sell off of St Brigid’s Nursing Home in Crooksling, Brittas as “just plain wrong” and described the rush to sell off the 40 acre site as “unseemly” following the death of 17 elderly women residents after contracting COVID-19.

Teachta Crowe was attending a ‘Save St Brigid’s Crooksling’ meeting held outside Brittas Community Centre today.

Teachta Crowe said:

“The Health Service Executive moved the elderly women patients who suffered from various phases of dementia from the Crooksling site to Tymon North during the COVID Pandemic. 17 of them subsequently died and many local residents are calling for a public inquiry. Candles were lit today for each of them and prayers were said by local priest Father Campbell.

“The HSE have taken the decision to sell off the 40 acre Crooksling site that was donated to the local community in the 1800s, was used as a TB sanatorium, and subsequently as a nursing home to this day.

“I recalled today that I attended the first save St Brigid’s meeting over 15 years ago that was organised and held in a local golf club not far from today’s meeting.

“St Brigid’s, a bit like St Luke’s Cancer Centre in Ranelagh, has a beautiful setting, brilliant staff and that added something that is almost spiritual and helps many on the road to recovery.

“The haste of the HSE closure and sell off of Crooksling to the highest bidder is unseemly, particularly against the backdrop of the so recent deaths of those elderly women.

“I believe that there is a strong case for a public inquiry into these deaths and many others who died in nursing homes during the pandemic. 34 staff tested positive for COVID-19 and many of them are still recovering.

“They all have a story that needs to be told, as do the loved ones of these 17 women.

“15 years ago, we were told St Brigid’s would not be sold off and various governments have come and gone since. Today, it was prayers for the dead, but that we also need to ‘fight like hell for the living’.

“The CHO7 area that covers Dublin South West, Wicklow, and Kildare has a huge ageing population. We need to be opening, not closing facilities, like St Brigid’s and certainly not selling off this property to a developer or wealthy land speculator.

“I am hoping to get some answers next week off the new Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, who is also a local Wicklow TD, particularly around this sell off and the closure decision.

“It doesn’t make sense to me, but a lot of decisions made by the HSE don’t add up.

“I would like to end by saying well done to the organisers today for a thoughtful and touching ceremony and thankfully, the rain held off.”