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Dunmurry Manor: Enough is enough, say angry families as they rally at watchdog's office demanding change

By Gerald Lennon

Families of Dunmurry Manor residents protested outside the office of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority office in Belfast yesterday.

The demonstration came in the wake of the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland's report into poor conditions and poor treatment of residents at Dunmurry Manor care home.

Around 15 family members of Annie McCourt, a former resident of the home, joined the protest, some holding signs that read 'RQIA must admit they failed our loved ones' and 'We demand change'.

Julieann McNally, the granddaughter of Annie, who has become the face for residents at the care home, spoke about the day she read the commissioner's report.

She said: "The commissioner's report was very hard-hitting, I was sickened in my stomach.

"We want the RQIA to know the impact this has had on us."

Julieann, from west Belfast, is calling for other families with relatives who were in Dunmurry Manor to come forward and to speak out.

"We're hoping to meet up collectively - I think what people don't understand is the impact this has on the families and the relatives and so from that we will hopefully set up the support group," she added.

"Granny Annie was our loved one and it's all those people in now who didn't have anybody, who don't have any advocates or a voice."

Annie's daughter Bridie Shortt was also present and added:"We can't bring my mummy back, but there are other people we can help."

Joining the families at the protest was Sinn Fein MLA Colm Gildernew, who said the report by the Commissioner for Older People must act as a "catalyst for change".

He said: "It is clear that in the Dunmurry case the whole system failed people. There is an onus on the RQIA, the health trusts and (owners) Runwood to recognise their failure at Dunmurry.

"Those responsible for adult safeguarding must acknowledge the findings of the report, examine the recommendations and work together along with the families to implement the report as a catalyst for change, ensuring that the horrors of Dunmurry are never repeated."

People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll also attended the protest to show his solidarity with the families.

He had been in contact with Julieann for a number of years after the family had raised concerns about the treatment of their grandmother during her time at the home.

He said: "I've tried to meet with the RQIA on Julieann's behalf to put pressure on them."

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