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Sinn Féin calls for Truth Commission to establish facts about Mother and Baby Homes - Dáil motion to be debated this week

19 March, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD


Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has published a Dáil motion which will be debated at Private Members Time this week calling for a Truth Commission to establish the facts about Mother and Baby Homes.

Speaking this evening Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

"The revelations of recent weeks at Tuam, and subsequent reports regarding the records and treatment of children, and their mothers, have shocked and angered Irish people.

"The suffering and mistreatment of children and mothers in these institutions is a matter of national shame and, in many respects, there are many questions unanswered, and those responsible have yet to be brought to account.

"The attempts to establish truth and address who was responsible for this dreadful part of our history has been piecemeal, flawed and utterly inadequate.

"The most recent action, the establishment of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby, under Judge Yvonne Murphy, was set up in the midst of  widespread criticism that its terms of reference were utterly inadequate.

"Those who suffered under the system, but were not on the list of prescribed Mother and Baby Homes were excluded. Survivors groups have also criticised the behind closed doors hearings and what they feel is a lack of transparency.

“We need to rectify that, and Sinn Féin believes that a new model is required.  A Commission of Investigation, or Interdepartmental Committee will simply not do.

"It needs to explore the full story, and establish the truth of what happened, right across the system.

"There has been a failure to recognise that, though the experiences in Mother and Baby Homes, Magdalene Laundaries, Industrial Schools, and other institutions are varied and different, that these are issues are linked.

"This was a regime, underpinned by an appalling attitude to women, particularly unmarried women and their children, which manifested itself across the institutions of the state. The entire system and the mistreatment of women and children, in whatever setting, needs to have a light shone upon it.

"There are numerous examples of successful Truth Commissions internationally. We should take the best examples of these and apply the principles here in Ireland.

“It should ensure that survivors groups are part of the process right from the beginning, that there is an advisory committee to the commission, and that hearings are in the manner which those victims and survivors are most comfortable with.  There is also a need for international expertise.

“The Government should ensure that any possible burial sites are not interfered with until this process is completed.

"A commission with a wide ranging remit is, we believe, the best way to finally establish the truth of what happened in these institutions.

“However, none of this precludes, or should be a substitute for the justice system, and the need for any future Criminal Proceedings, and the Gardaí and the courts can and should investigate and prosecute where they have reason to believe a crime has been committed."

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