Family protests at inspectors’ offices after damning care home report

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The family of a late resident at a heavily criticised care home have protested at the offices of inspectors, demanding accountability.

Relatives of Annie McCourt picketed the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) in Belfast a week after a damning report into standards at the Dunmurry Manor home.

The investigation by the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland listed a litany of failings in the care provided in the home.

Commissioner Eddie Lynch also expressed concern that during the period focused on by his investigation RQIA inspectors had been reporting no major issues at Dunmurry.

Dunmurry Manor care home report
Annie McCourt’s granddaughter Maria Scott sticks a poster on the name plate of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (David Young/PA)

Mrs McCourt’s relatives have been at the forefront of a campaign by families alleging mistreatment of residents at the home. Their complaints sparked Mr Lynch’s probe.

The 89-year-old great grandmother from west Belfast, who suffered from dementia, was a resident at the home for six months in 2016. She died later that year.

Her family is examining the possibility of pursing corporate manslaughter charges in the wake of Mr Lynch’s findings.

At Friday’s protest, Mrs McCourt’s granddaughter Julie Ann McNally urged the RQIA to “hold their hands up” over its “failures”.

“The message we are trying to get across today is we want them to take responsibility,” she said.

“We want them to hold their hands up and say we accept our part in the failures in this report,” she said.

Dunmurry Manor care home report
Relatives of Annie McCourt protest outside the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) in Belfast (David Young/PA)

“Enough is enough as of today – it’s got to stop.”

In a message to the RQIA and other statutory bodies, Ms McNally added: “Our families have been through enough and treated bad enough in this process – hang your heads in shame and get your act together.”

The Runwood Homes group, which owns Dunmurry Manor, has apologised for the failures exposed in the report.

It said a new management team was put in place last year to “put things right”.

The RQIA did not comment on Friday’s protest.

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