Government continues to deny justice and redress to survivors of Mother and Baby Homes – Mary Lou McDonald TD
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has told the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs that survivors fear the government is dragging its heels in accepting its role in these institutions, in an attempt to cynically limit the states redress liabilities to survivors whose numbers decline with each passing year.
The Dublin Central TD was responding to the 4th Interim Report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.
Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon Deputy McDonald said:
“This Commission of Investigation was established four years ago and survivors of the institutions under investigation are no closer to justice or redress.
"They no longer have confidence in this government or the state to do the right thing. It really is as stark as that.
“The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs recent apology to survivors for the further delay to the Commission completing its work was welcome, but the Ministers sentiments are not matched by her own department’s actions.
“It took two full years for the Minister’s department and the Department of Health to hand over the first tranche of discovery to the Commission.
"Even after such an inexplicable delay the materials provided were just a tenth of the documentation that was to follow over the next year and a half.
"As late as November of last year the Commission was informed of many thousands of pages of discovery yet to be handed over.
“In 2016 the Commission stated in its second interim report that ‘logically’ children resident in Bethany Home and other similar institutions should be eligible for the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme.
“Derek Leinster who himself suffered horrific abuse and neglect in Bethany believes the denial of redress is a deliberate government policy of ‘delay and deny until they die’ policy.
“The Tuam Home Survivors' Network has requested that the government begin collecting their DNA samples immediately given the age profile and health status of its members.
“This type of forensic work has been conducted in numerous jurisdictions, and legislation is not required to collect these voluntary samples.
"The Network’s ask of government is a moderate one. They simply want to avoid any delay in returning human remains to identifiable relatives for dignified burials.”