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Government must get Terms of Reference Right - Gerry Adams TD

11 June, 2014 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has this evening called on the Irish government to ensure that the “terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation into the mother and bay homes to be inclusive and comprehensive.”

The Louth TD said that:

“Survivors and advocacy groups should be consulted on the terms of reference. And given the age of many of the survivors redress schemes, including counselling should be put in place as quickly as possible.

“Sinn Féin believes that the terms of reference must cover:
◦The effective imprisonment of pregnant women in mother and baby homes
◦The taking of babies from their mothers against their will
◦The cause of the 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 and elsewhere of an unknown number of children
◦The subjection of children to medical trials without the consent of their mothers.

“And in our view the Commission should be in place before the summer recess.”

Gerry Adams continued:

“For many citizens there is genuine bewilderment at the scale of the abuse, the numbers who died, and their treatment after death.

“For some commentators the responsibility and blame for all of this is being laid at the door of‘society’. In this version of events everyone is to blame.

“It’s as if the virtual imprisonment of unmarried girls and women and the theft of their children was the natural outworking of the conservative society of that period in our history.

“That’s too simplistic a picture of life at that time and it seeks to excuse the decisions that were taken by the elites in state and church.

“As Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin told the Dáil yesterday: “This can be too easily be twisted into a view that since everyone was to blame – no one was to blame. “

“That is not good enough.

“It is a fact that after partition a conservative, mean spirited, narrow minded political and business elite in this state, in alliance with the Catholic Church hierarchy, put in place laws and institutions and censorship restrictions, which were intolerant, chauvinistic, prejudiced and anti-women and anti-working class.

“Anyone who broke that moral norm was condemned and ostracised. Unmarried mothers were held for years in institutions. Their babies were taken from them alive and dead. They had broken no laws. The thousands of mothers and children who endured unbelievable hardship were denied everything by the state.

“The Commission of Investigation must reveal the truth of that experience and those responsible for it.”

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