Portadown woman, who lost her mum during the Covid-19 pandemic, urging families to take part in public inquiry

Martina Derry, who lost her beloved mother Ursula during the Covid19 pandemic, is urging other bereaved families to get involved with the public inquiry.

Baroness Heather Hallet, chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, vowed to undertake a thorough investigation of a wide range of issues when she formally opened in the inquiry on July 21 this year.

Martina’s mother died in January 2021 aged 88. She had been in a nursing home and Martina was distraught she was unable to visit her mother, who had dementia.

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Portadown girl Martina Ferguson (Nee Derry) with her mother Ursula Derry. Mrs Derry died during the Covid19 pandemic and Martina is urging all bereaved families to take part in the public inquiry.

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-Martina is urging anyone who lost a loved one through the pandemic to get involved with the inquiry. She pointed to Lady Hallet’s statement, when the inquiry was formally opened, on the impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on bereaved families.

Lady Hallet said: “It is difficult to conceive of a group who have been more tragically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic than bereaved families. The inquiry is now accepting applications for core participant status from those with a special interest in the public inquiry including groups with similar interests such as bereaved families.”

The Northern Ireland Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice is a group, set up by Martina and Brenda Doherty, and dedicated to obtaining justice for those who have lost a loved one to Covid-19.

Martina said: “Our key objectives are to secure answers and accountability for the deaths of our loved ones and to learn lessons to help save lives in the future and the most effective means of achieving this is by participating in the Covid-19 Public Inquiry.”

The group is represented by PA Duffy & Company solicitors who are applying for core participant status on behalf of the group.

Martina explained: “You are entitled to free legal representation as the Inquiry will provide funding for groups or individuals who are designated as core participants. Participation in the UK Covid-19 Inquiry gives bereaved families from Northern Ireland a chance to have their voices heard.

We would encourage anyone who has lost a loved one to Covid-19 to join the group and to take the first steps in obtaining justice. You can join our group by contacting [email protected] and you can sign up for free legal representation by contacting [email protected]