Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD urged the Government to ensure that all the key issues, arising from the discovery of childrens' remains at the site of a former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway, be addressed by a Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes across the State.
Deputy Gerry Adams said:
"The past week saw horrific revelations, including the fact that up to 800 children may have been buried in an unmarked communal plot at the site of a former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam. It is alleged that a regime of neglect and maltreatment, caused the deaths of these most vulnerable of our citizens.
"Tragically, Tuam is not an isolated case. Dozens of these homes operated in Ireland from the late 1800s up to the 1970s. We don’t know how many mass graves might exist.
"It’s clear that women and babies in these Homes had no rights.It is clear also from the harrowing accounts of survivors who found the strength to speak out in recent days that their lives were destroyed by the way they were treated. It is time that the State, finally, faced up to this shameful period."
The Sinn Fein Leader said the terms of reference of any investigation must be comprehensive and deal with all the serious matters that have arisen:
"Citizens are demanding the establishment of truth about a number of key issues:
· The effective imprisonment of pregnant women in Mother and Baby Homes
· The taking of babies from their mothers against their will
· The cause of shocking infant mortality rates at Mother and Baby Homes
· The circumstances surrounding the burial of children and babies who died at these Homes
· The routine illegal adoption and trafficking to the USA of an unknown number of children
· The subjection of children to medical trials without the consent of their mothers.
"There are other institutions that need to be included in this investigation, such as the Westbank Home in Greystones, County Wicklow, and other relevant institutions."
Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach to confirm that any investigation would have full powers of compellability and full access to all records and documents whether held by public authorities or private institutions. He also asked whether action would be taken to seal off the site in Tuam where remains were discovered, so that qualified experts could be brought in to examine it.