Shocking statistic prompts call for independent inquiry
Mayo has the second-highest death rate from Covid-19 among all counties in Ireland. After hearing the shocking statistic, one councillor is calling for an independent inquiry into the handling of the pandemic in the county.
Castlebar-based Cllr Michael Kilcoyne (Ind), a member of the HSE Regional Forum – West, was reacting to figures that were released last Friday. They showed Mayo is second only to Monaghan in terms of Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 population.
The county’s total recorded deaths from Covid-19 stands at 210, which equates to a mortality rate per 100,000 of 160.91. Monaghan is on 166.16. Mayo is significantly higher than any other county in Connacht.
Galway has a rate of 53.09, less than a third of Mayo’s, while the mortality rate per 100,000 for the other three Connacht counties are: Leitrim 49.63, Sligo 45.78 and Roscommon 82.11.
“We need answers. What has caused these numbers in Mayo? What I want to know is how many people died from Covid-19 which they contracted while in Mayo University Hospital,” Cllr Kilcoyne told The Mayo News.
“Those figures should be available because everyone is tested on the way in, and their results are on their records. We know some people died this way but we need to know how many.
“If the authorities have nothing to hide, let them come out and tell us.
“The least they owe people is an explanation as to how and why this happened and what steps are being put in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“I am calling for an independent report into the high level of Covid-19 deaths in Mayo. It cannot be done by the HSE or the Department of Health,” said Cllr Kilcoyne.
More than statistics
While Mayo has the highest average age in the country as per the 2016 Census, Cllr Kilcoyne pointed to the comparative age demographic in Galway and also argued that the rural nature of Mayo ought to have been advantageous.
“It might be said about the county having an elderly population – well we haven’t that much older a population than Galway and our death rate is three times higher what Galway’s is, and Galway have a huge urban centre.
“It is hard to understand how we have the second highest death rate in the country when we are the second least densely populated county, after Leitrim, in the country.
“We were told it would be an advantage to be in a rural area and not in crowded cities and towns. How has this not applied to Mayo? We’ve a higher rate than Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford, the five cities.”
He expressed his sympathies to the families of those who lost loved ones from Covid-19.
“Behind all those statistics are 210 people who died and their families left grieving. Some of them did not need to die. Some of them went into hospital with another complaint and left in a box.
“I expect the support of the four Mayo TDs and two senators on this matter to ensure an inquiry takes place,” he added.
The Mayo News yesterday (Monday) directed a series of questions on the death rate in Mayo to the HSE National Press Office.
No response had been received at the time of going to print.