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Survivors express concerns on forthcoming Mother and Baby Home Inquiry       printable version
16 Jul 2014 filed by editor - General

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors today expressed concerns about the forthcoming mother and Baby Home Inquiry. 

Spokesperson for the Coalition, Paul Redmond said: "The interdepartmental report is reasonably comprehensive with some glaring omissions such as the exclusion of the Temple Hill holding centre while including another holding centre, Stamullen. The fact that only registered births are used to calculate figures in the nine M&B homes instead of the numbers of expectant mothers also seriously misrepresents and downplays the numbers involved.Additionally, the issue of illegal adoptions has not been mentioned.”

Redmond also said that it is presently unclear from the report of the interdepartmental group whether all of the institutions will be included in the terms of reference; the conclusions from the report seem to indicate that the County Homes will not be expressly included in the inquiry, as regards providing redress. Derek Leinster, Chairperson of the Bethany Survivors Group added on the omission of the protestant West Bank Home from the report: "The abuse this group suffered has never been investigated and if this report has it way, it never will."

The Commission will be established and will operate under the Commission of Investigations Act 2004. Under the Act, the Minister is obliged to bring the Establishment Order before the Dail for approval, but can decide to publish the Terms of Reference and proposed appointments separately, without debate and prior approval by the Dáil. Sinn Fein had called on him to publish the Terms of Reference and proposed appointment/s as part of the Establishment Order, as he is free to do under the legislation, so that these may be subject to public debate and Dáil approval. Linked to this, the Coalition expressed concerns on the lack of debate on the appointment of the Inquiry Chair which they said is hugely disappointing.

“This is of particular concern given the strong criticism of the Irish Government before the UN yesterday as part of Ireland’s fourth periodic examination before the UN Human Rights Committee under the ICCPR” added legal advisor to the coalition Mairead Healy. The committee’s chair Sir Nigel Rodley expressed surprise and exasperation, at the myriad of rights abuses that the State has failed to properly investigate. He also criticized the State’s consistent failure to make truth finding and accountability central to the redress provided to victims. Another member of the human rights Committee, Christine Chanet also questioned the degree to which the McAleese inquiry into the Magdalene abuse was independent of the State. “We are now calling for the remaining members of the inquiry Commission to be drawn from external international experts, and for the terms of reference to be debated publicly, as the question must be asked whether the mistakes of past inquiries are being repeated all over again” added Mairead Healy.

The Coalition made a formal submission to the Government in relation to the Mother and Baby Home Inquiry, joining forces in calling for inclusivity, full consultation and a modular approach to the inquiry.

Notwithstanding the announcement today, the group is calling for full and immediate consultation with survivor groups, particularly with regard to the terms of reference and appointment of remaining members of the Inquiry Commission which will now be announced later in the Autumn. Redmond added: " CMABS will continue to campaign, and we will use our forthcoming complaint to the UN Torture Committee, to ensure that no person or institution is left behind. This must be the final inquiry to end all inquiries."

The Coalition of Mother and Baby home Survivors (CMABS) is the largest group of survivor representatives in Ireland. Formed in 2013 with the sole purpose of working together to prepare a complaint to the UN Committee Against Torture, its membership is made up of Adoption Rights Now, Beyond Adoption Ireland, Adopted Illegally Ireland, the Bethany Home Survivors, the Castlepollard Mother and Baby Home group and the Dunboyne Mother and Baby Home group. Internationally, it is connected to, and supported by, similar groups including the Adoption Coalition.


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