Minister must ensure access to files to facilitate Mother and Baby Home investigation – Kathleen Funchion TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children Kathleen Funchion TD has said that today’s appeal by An Garda Síochána to mother and baby home survivors, asking them to report any information they have on crimes relating to a pregnancy or abuse in these institutions, is a "positive first step for many survivors seeking justice".
Speaking of today’s development, Teachta Funchion said:
“From the outset, I and Sinn Fein have been calling for a criminal investigation into abuses perpetrated in mother and baby homes.
"I am hopeful that today’s announcement by An Garda Síochána creates a space and pathway for many survivors who have been so egregiously treated by the state, but haven’t been in a position to pursue their justice.
“I understand that Gardaí set up a special dedicated team to review the mother and baby homes commission report - but it has not found enough information in the published report to form the basis of a criminal investigation. Now they are appealing to survivors to come forward.
“I’m calling on the Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman, Tusla, the Adoption Authority and other adoption agencies to fully open their archives to all adoptees. There simply cannot be a proper investigation without the records.
“At the time of its publication in early January it became evidently clear within a few days that the testimonies given by survivors and those subsequently recounted in the 3,000-page report differed greatly.
"I was personally told stories of horrendous beatings and imprisonment at the hands of those running the homes. I know of women in the throws of labour being locked into rooms without any medical assistance for days on end.
“The report found that 9,000 children died in these institutions, where childhood mortality rates were an epidemic, this startling figure undoubtedly reveals that physical abuse and cruelty was rampant."
Gardaí are encouraging people with information to contact them using the following options:
- Email: [email protected];
- Calling into your local Garda Station;
- Or by phoning the Garda Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Line on 1800 555 222. This is a confidential and free service available 24/7.