Woman 'disgusted' at Taoiseach's response to her mother's vaccination delay

The daughter of an 86-year-old woman who is still waiting on a vaccine says she is 'horrified, du...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.32 21 Apr 2021

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Woman 'disgusted' at Taoiseach...

Woman 'disgusted' at Taoiseach's response to her mother's vaccination delay

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.32 21 Apr 2021

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The daughter of an 86-year-old woman who is still waiting on a vaccine says she is 'horrified, dumbfounded and disgusted' at Taoiseach Micheál Martin's response to her mother's position.

Anne Kelly is housebound and her case was raised earlier on Wednesday in the Dáil by Sinn Féin's Darren O'Rourke.

In reply to Deputy O'Rourke, Mr Martin said: "First of all, we want to get every housebound person in this situation a vaccine.


"I don't know whether you've spoken to the GP, Deputy, I don't know whether you've spoken to the HSE in relation to this - but these are issues that ordinarily are dealt with by doing that: by engaging with the local doctor, by engaging with the HSE.

"The National Ambulance Service have been doing this and have been doing an excellent job.

"Quite a significant number of housebound people have now been vaccinated.

"And I don't think it's the best way to try and - anyway I'll say no more than that, I just think there's ways of sorting this out fairly quickly.

"If you can give me the details we'll pursue it".

Anne's daughter Adrienne O'Doherty told The Hard Shoulder she is 'disgusted' at the Taoiseach's response.

"As I said before, her GP wasn't taking part due to manpower, I was told... and he had handed it over to RocDoc.

"They couldn't help my mum because they weren't allowed, apparently, come to the house to vaccinate her.

"I was ringing her GP, they were saying they could do nothing for me, 'contact the HSE'.

"I was contacting the HSE, they were telling me they could do nothing [and to] contact her GP.

"This was the loop I was caught up in for well over a week - and as a last resort, I contacted my three local TDs to see was there anything they could do to help."

Asked about her reaction to the Taoiseach's response in the Dáil, she said: "I'm horrified, absolutely horrified, dumbfounded, disgusted - he showed no empathy whatsoever.

"On the 25th of March in the [Dáil] chamber, [Health Minister] Stephen Donnelly said that all the housebound in Dublin and the north-east region had been vaccinated.

"That was a lie - they have not been".

Woman 'disgusted' at Taoiseach's response to her mother's vaccination delay

00:00:00 / 00:00:00


HSE response

Adrienne said a 98-year-old man who lives near her mother has also not yet been vaccinated.

And that other people are contacting her daughters through Twitter with similar complaints.

The HSE told Newstalk as of last Friday, there are 934 housebound patients yet to receive their first dose of a vaccine.

"We will get to everyone over the next few weeks", a statement added.

On this Adrienne asked: "How long is a few more weeks? There are still saying nothing definite.

"Nobody is contacting us - if we could just have a date, even if it was further down the line, at least we'd know it's coming.

"But it's this dreadful non-communication, not being told - my mother was distressed enough, but after listening to the Taoiseach's reply today she is twice as distressed.

"She's just so upset that that is all that is thought of the housebound.

"They are just put on the backburner and forgotten about".

But Adrienne said she has had contact from the National Ambulance Service: "Last Friday, the 16th of April I got a generic text from the National Ambulance Service saying that the over-70s person associated with this number - I am the contact for my mum - is on our vaccination list.

"And they finished it off by saying 'Please do not call or email the National Ambulance Service' - isn't that a charming text?"

'I just stand outside and wave'

Adrienne said her mother is feeling very lonely: "I can't even go into her, I just stand outside and wave in.

"I stand outside on my mobile and I ring her inside on the landline just so that we can see each other as we're chatting - but that's as far as it goes.

"She is very well protected and we're doing our very best for her, but it comes at a cost - and that cost is she has no quality of life.

"Her quality of life is poor enough being housebound, but at least people could visit her... but she's completely isolated now".

And she said she is conscious about the time her mother may have left.

"I think when you get to 80 years of age, really, every day is precious after that - and that's certainly the way we feel about my mum.

"But we can't put anything in place to give her a joyful last few years of her life because we can't get near her anymore.

"And it's been like that for over a year now".

Asked if she had a message for Micheál Martin, she said: "I would say to him he needs to have a long, hard think about this and to listen to his TDs who are coming in, and I'm sure, telling him that there are people in their constituencies who are housebound and not yet vaccinated.

"And the appalling lack of communication, that has been my point from day one, that we didn't even know if my mum was on the list to be vaccinated or not".

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien later apologised to Ms O'Doherty. 

He told The Hard Shoulder she should not have to make multiple calls to the HSE or her GP.

"That shouldn't happen - and can I say that to her, and I would apologise to her for that happening.

"I've elderly parents myself, a lot of us have grandparents and parents who are going through this - and particularly people who are housebound.

"I've looked into this: about 1,800 people who are housebound and who are vulnerable have actually been contacted by and are getting their vaccinations through the National Ambulance Service.

"There are around 1,000 people in that situation of Adrienne's mom who are yet to receive their vaccination.

"But I'm being assured by the HSE that that will be done in the coming weeks.

"And what I'm saying is it should be done as a matter of priority", he said.

Woman 'disgusted' at Taoiseach's response to her mother's vaccination delay

00:00:00 / 00:00:00


Main image: Anne Kelly. Picture by: Supplied

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Adrienne O'doherty Anne Kelly Darren O'Rourke Housebound National Ambulance Service Taoiseach Micheal Martin Vaccines

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