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Government dismissal of redress recommendation ‘insulting to survivors’ – Ó Laoghaire

11 April, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin TD and Children and Youth Affairs spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has heavily criticised the Ministers response to the 2nd interim report from the Commission of Investigation into Mother & Baby Homes, which has been on the Minister’s desk since September last.

This report, which comes in the wake of the finding of human remains at Tuam in recent weeks, recommends re-examining the issue of redress for children in Mother & Baby Homes; however, the Government is refusing outright to entertain such a recommendation.

The Cork South-Central TD said:

 “It is deeply disappointing to survivors that the Minister and the Government have simply ruled out even examining the possibility of including children from these homes in the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme.

“This is despite the Commission recommending such a measure, and comes as a severe blow to all those survivors who had been excluded from previous schemes, such as; Bethany, Westbank, and various other institutions.

“The 2nd interim report has been on the Minister’s desk for 8 months and should have been released prior to today. There is simply no justification for such a delay, and it caused survivors a great degree of concern, concern that is justified by today’s dreadful response by Government.

“I am currently examining the report thoroughly; however, it is immediately clear that the Government’s attitude is oblivious to the hurt felt by those endured this regime. It is also completely out of tune with public sentiment.

“It is also quite incredible that the report has not recommended an extension to the terms of reference.

“Recent revelations from historians, journalists, and particularly survivors make it plain that the original terms of reference are no longer adequate.

“Indeed it was Sinn Fein’s view, and the view of many survivor groups, that these terms of reference were entirely inadequate from the very start, and indeed we have reservations about the very model.  

“It is my view that the extension of the terms of reference are the very minimum that the Government should do. If the terms of reference are not expanded, as a minimum, many survivors will continue to be excluded, and that is unacceptable.

“Our knowledge of what transpired has moved on significantly since the report was drafted, and there are more questions than ever, questions the current commission is simply incapable of answering.

“The Minister has said she will carry out a scoping review of the existing Terms of Reference; however, this kicks the can further down the road, while many survivors are worried if they will ever see justice.

“Today’s news is devastating for many survivors, and falls a long way short of the empathy expressed by Government TDs in recent debates.

“I will be calling on the Minister to come before the Dáil to discuss both the report and the Government’s response to it.” 

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