The granddaughter of a Belfast man who spent his last birthday without his family because of lockdown has hit out at the latest Boris Johnson revelations.
Stanley O’Neill, who died five weeks ago, turned 79 last January but was isolating at a care home in north Belfast after being discharged from hospital in the days before his birthday.
As a result, Mr O’Neill, who had dementia, was denied the opportunity of celebrating the day with family.
His granddaughter Sophie said claims that staff members had gathered in Downing Street for his birthday in June 2020 were a slap in the face.
She added: “I’m absolutely disgusted. I missed so much time with my granda because of lockdown.
“The person making the rules seems to have been laughing at all of us.
“My granda was supposed to turn 80 this month, but he died just before Christmas, so we missed spending his last birthday with him.
“He had just come out of hospital and wasn’t allowed any visitors, so instead, we got a video from the care home staff giving him a birthday cake and him looking at the presents that we sent him.”
Sophie said she was certain her grandfather, a dedicated family man, would still be alive today if it was not for the harsh rules imposed in care homes during the pandemic.
Mr O’Neill was diagnosed with vascular dementia five years ago and moved to a care home in January 2020, a matter of months before the beginning of the first lockdown.
Up to that point, he had been living independently and was fully mobile, but within six months, he was bed-bound and his weight had plummeted to six stone.
Sophie continued: “We were only allowed window visits. My grandad would get very distressed and cry and beg us to bring him home.
“At one stage, he was in hospital and the staff would bring him to a window on the first floor and we would have to shout up to him.
“I can’t tell you how many times I cried my eyes out in the car on the way home.
“I spent two years fighting for better access to my grandfather and so other families could see their loved ones in care homes.
“It’s degrading to all of us to hear the people who made the rules were having parties.
“My grandfather wanted to spend time with his family, but he wasn’t allowed.
“It seems like Boris Johnson didn’t care what everyone else was going through.”
The Prime Minister signalled yesterday that he was willing to speak to police investigating multiple allegations of Downing Street parties breaching coronavirus rules. He continues to insist, however, that he did not break the law.
Senior civil servant Sue Gray was last night considering whether to publish her inquiry into claims of lockdown breaches this week as planned or to delay the report, after the Metropolitan Police announced that officers had begun an investigation.
Downing Street suggested elements of the Cabinet Office inquiry that touch on potentially criminal acts may be paused now police are involved.
However, it is understood that Scotland Yard has not objected to any publication.
Mr Johnson was plunged into deeper jeopardy when Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced officers were investigating a “number of events” in Downing Street and Whitehall over two years after being passed information from the Gray inquiry.