September 28, 2023

Kilkenny councillor slams Taoiseach’s ‘heartless’ response to shocking mortuary revelations

A KILKENNY councillor has accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of showing “no compassion” to families affected by appalling conditions at the regional hospital’s mortuary.

Independent European election candidate Breda Gardner spoke out after the Taoiseach said there wasn’t any evidence to back up the claims made by four senior consultant pathologists at University Hospital Waterford (UHW).

In the letter to HSE bosses sent last October, the consultants revealed some dead bodies were left leaking fluids in its mortuary corridor and that the unit was so cramped and lacking in temperature control that corpses had to be left in the corridor. In some cases they decomposed, forcing families to have closed coffin funerals.

Speaking at a press conference this week, Mr Varadkar described the claims as “strange”. He added: “I don’t know if those claims are true or not but it doesn’t seem that there’s any evidence to support them and certainly those who made them haven’t put forward any evidence to support them.”

Cllr Gardner described the Taoiseach’s response as “heartless” and “embarrassing”. And she revealed she directly knows one family that endured a devastating ordeal because of the conditions at the mortuary.

She told “I know one family that had to bury their loved one within 12 hours because body fluids were falling onto the ground as their remains lay in the mortuary. I called the family to apologise for being unable to attend the funeral and they told me ‘don’t worry, it wouldn’t have been possible’ because they had to the bury them so quickly.”

Cllr Gardner (pictured below) described the response of Taoiseach and the UHW management to the serious concerns raised by the consultants about the mortuary as “wrong”.

She added: “It’s heartless, they’ve shown no compassion whatsoever. They say that ‘no formal complaints’ were made, but of course there was nobody reporting it – they were too stuck in their pain and grief.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has said it is “alarmed” at the Government response to the mortuary scandal and has backed the doctors who highlighted the issue.

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