Mother and Baby Homes report criticised by survivors, public figures

Historian of Tuam Catherine Corless has criticised the failure of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes fully to take into account the views and evidence of survivors.

Calling for a review of the Commission’s final report, Ms Corless said that people had expected that the Commission would help to ascertain the truth rather than merely engage in an academic exercise. Noting that the Commission had carefully selected what material it would use in the final report, she said that she hoped the Government would take the steps necessary to ensure that survivors get the answers and supports that they need. 

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman called on the members of the Commission to clarify urgently its treatment of survivors’ personal accounts by appearing before an Oireachtas committee.

Mother and Baby Homes_ Image Source: Irish Times

Carmel Larkin, a survivor of the Tuam home, said that survivors were hurt by the revelation that their stories had been ignored, and that she had previously understood that the interviews were part of the investigative process. She called for an end to delays holding up the redress process. Teresa O’Sullivan, who was born in a mother-and-baby-home, emphasised the importance of transparency and said that survivors’ trauma deserved to be recognised. Anne Harris, another survivor, criticised as insensitive the decision of a Commission member to speak publicly about its findings at a UK academic conference without first doing so in Ireland.

Dr Maeve O’Rourke of NUI Galway has said that the Government should repudiate the findings of the report and open the underlying archive so that those who gave evidence can have access to copies of their evidence as well as their full personal data.

Breeda Murphy of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance told RTÉ’s Six One that what happened has again highlighted the disrespect shown to survivors and families of lost children. They were not given the opportunity of reading over the transcripts of their own testimonies and, unlike religious orders, were not given a right of reply. She said that, if the Commission had raised the issue of the weight to be attributed to survivor testimony with the Government at some point during its six-year existence, a solution could have been found to deal with it.

How can we help?

Coleman Legal have been working to assist individuals affected by the legacy of Irelands shameful past. Coleman Legal have worked closely with individuals (both mothers and children born into these institutions) for many years pursuing cases for adoptees and illegally adopted persons against the religious Orders and the State.  With news of the conclusion of the Commission’s report, Coleman Legal are keen to review the report and in particular, to see what provisions have been made or are being recommended, to provide restitution to the affected community.

Coleman Legal are ready to assist persons affected by assisting in applications to any satisfactory redress scheme that may be initiated.

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