Survivors of Mother and Baby Homes across Ireland must be listened to – Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile
Sinn Féin’s leader in the Seanad, Niall Ó Donnghaile has expressed support and solidarity with survivors of Mother and Baby Homes, as the report into institutions in the north is published.
Speaking in the Seanad this afternoon, Senator Ó Donnghaile said:
“I want to put on record my admiration for survivors’ bravery, dignity and determination in coming forward to tell their stories and ensuring that their truth is told and their voices are no longer ignored.
“I want them to know that they are not alone- we are listening to them and standing in solidarity with them.
“The sad reality is that these homes operated across Ireland. The Commission report states time and time again how babies were born in one jurisdiction and then taken to another.
“Women and girls from the north were taken to homes in the south and vice versa to be ‘out of sight’ of their communities. Pages after pages of unimaginable heartbreak.
“This is an all-Ireland issue. We have a duty to survivors to acknowledge this and factor this into our approach.
“I note that Minister Roderic O’Gorman held a meeting with Ministers Michelle O’Neill and Arlene Foster last week about the report in recognition of that fact. I welcome that.
“The report in the north is currently being discussed in the Assembly. It must be looked at and studied carefully.
“Survivors’ voices, their needs and their concerns, must be at the very heart of our approach and the steps which are taken next.
“We can never undo the hurt and the pain of these institutions, but we can act now to ensure further harm isn’t caused. It’s the very least we owe survivors.
“My colleague Kathleen Funchion published legislation last week to ensure survivors have a legal right to this fundamental point many of us take for granted- the right to know who you are and where you come from.
“We also have to find a compassionate and sensitive way to address institutions where human remains are believed to be buried on site. This must be done in consultation with survivors.
“Survivors also need access to specialist support for accessing housing, counselling services and other therapies, as well as proper access to medical cards.
“We have an obligation to do the right thing now for survivors across Ireland. For too long, our government, the church and society has let them down and this must change.”