Mother and Baby Homes report cannot stand and must be repudiated - Kathleen Funchion TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has said the report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission cannot stand and must be repudiated.
She warned that the Commissioners have treated survivors with ‘absolute contempt’ following their refusal to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Children.
Teachta Funchion, who is chair of the Oireachtas Committee, said:
“It is clear that the Mother and Baby Homes report cannot stand and must be repudiated. The Commissioners' work has been severely undermined by their recent actions and survivors no longer have confidence in their work.
"Last week I wrote to the Commissioners and invited them to come before the Committee to answer vital questions about the way in which the report was handled. This followed my previous invitation in January which they had declined.
“As I outlined to the Commissioners, it is not unreasonable for survivors to get answers to questions they have about a report which has such profound implications for their lives.
“I was shocked to hear through media reports this afternoon that this invitation has been declined.
“By declining my invitation, the Commissioners are missing an opportunity to be open, transparent and answer questions survivors have about the processes used in their report. I believe that such a step would have been to the benefit for all involved.
“I am deeply concerned that the Commissioners decided to convey this information through a leak to the media, rather than informing the Committee and survivors.
“This was a highly inappropriate way for survivors to hear about this development and I fear it will add to the considerable hurt already felt by survivors. To be frank, the Commissioners have treated survivors with absolute contempt instead of the respect they deserve.
“I am appalled and disgusted at how survivors have been treated throughout this process. They came forward and bravely told the truth, often at huge personal cost, because they believed in exposing the reality of what happening in these institutions.
“Many found telling their stories to be deeply harrowing and traumatising to share but they made the decision to do so in order that this dark chapter of Irish history would be exposed, confronted and learnt from. I fear that many survivors will be left feeling retraumatised and that they have been disbelieved and disregarded by a state process which was not fit for purpose.
“It is now clear that the report cannot stand and must be repudiated. Survivors need solutions and action must be taken in consultation with survivors to put a plan in place to address this.
“I intend to raise at the Oireachtas Committee on Children next week how we can take steps in close consultation with survivors to put solutions in place urgently around the repudiation of the report.
“I remain committed to speaking up for survivors and ensuring they get the accountability and respect that they deserve. Nothing less will be acceptable.”