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McDonald expresses disappointment at omissions in investigation into Mother and Baby Homes

28 January, 2015 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin deputy leader and Dublin TD Mary Lou McDonald expressed her disappointment that many victims have not been explicitly included in the terms of reference of the investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

 Deputy McDonald said:

 “The Government has finally agreed to establish an independent Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.  It is welcome that this Commission will have the remit to receive testimony directly from victims and survivors in private or in public; the necessary powers to compel witnesses and documents; power to recommend prosecutions in the event of obstruction; and the freedom to produce a report including such recommendations as it sees fit.” 

 “However, I cannot accept the potential exclusion by omission of so many institutions that are so obviously relevant. This will impose further hurt on many victims and survivors.  While it is arguable that the Commission itself will have the scope to include them – and I hope that it does so – in fairness to the victims, they should be expressly included for avoidance of doubt, to give them peace of mind.  This is equally true for victims and survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.  Such victims include an estimated 1600 women who died in these institutions.”

 “It may be the case that the experiences of up to 70% of the total of approximately 85,000 women whose children were forcibly adopted under this system could be excluded from the scope of the investigation.  If so, then the true extent of the human rights violations against innocent women and children generated by this system will remain unknown, many perpetrators may remain outside justice and the State’s role will remain partially obscured.  If this happens, the Commission will have failed.” 

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