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'There needs to be flexibility so this never happens again'

Junior Minister Jim Daly has spoken out about the Devereaux controversy.

Michael and Kathleen Devereaux.
Michael and Kathleen Devereaux.
Image: Liveline

JUNIOR MINISTER WITH responsibility for older people, Jim Daly, has said that the Fair Deal scheme needs more flexibility so couples are not separated from each other when they are older.

Daly was reacting to the case of Michael and Kathleen Devereaux who were separated after 63 years of marriage because one of them qualified for nursing home care and the other didn’t.

This resulted in the couple getting on to Liveline and pleading their case, something which  Daly said “touched the pulse of the nation”.

He said that the current system is too rigid and needs to allow for cases such as the Devereauxs.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Daly said: “It was a very distressing case touched the pulse of the nation. It’s good to see that there’s a lot of compassion still out there.

“We asked for a report on specifics of this case. It would appear it was a clinical decision and not an admin one. We need to look out flexibility there. They were following due procedure.

“We have to get the balance right. We have to make sure clinical process is flexible enough to take compassion in.”

Michael (91) and his wife Kathleen (85) – who have been married for 63 years – both applied under the Fair Deal scheme for a place in a nursing home in March but only Michael was accepted.

During Leaders’ Questions yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it shouldn’t have happened and something he is very upset about.

“It was a decision devoid of common sense and devoid of humanity,” he said.

He added that he is pleased Minister Simon Harris moved swiftly to resolve the issue and that the review has been initiated.

Read: Brendan Courtney’s dad passes away months after documentary on care for the elderly >

Read: ‘A Fair Deal it may be, a cheap deal it sure isn’t’ – the trauma of putting a relative into care >

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