On Tuesday morning, the Cabinet is set to approve the findings of the mother and baby homes in Ireland by the Commission of Investigation.
The report focuses on 14 mother-and-baby homes and county homes which found an estimate of 9000 children had died in these institutions between 1922 until the closure of these institutions in 1998.
It was found that the estimated infant mortality rate in these institutions was double the infant mortality rate of children who were in regular society, as reported by RTE.
The Minister for Children Mr. Roderic O’Gorman will brief the survivors with the contents of the report in advance to the publication and a counselling service would also be in place for the survivors to avail of following the release of the report.
However, the details of the publication were leaked on Sunday the 10th of January in advance of the Governments publication of the report. It has been reported that this has caused distress to the survivors of the mother-and-baby homes who have waited over five years for the report.
The release of the details of the report to the media, prior to the survivors being informed of the contents, has reportedly and unsurprisingly, stirred unease and shock in the community. Criticism has been raised surrounding how the survivors were not considered or prioritised with respect to the disclosure and once again a breach of trust has been committed against this community who have already suffered so much. It had been promised, that the survivors would be the first to be informed of the findings.
Mr. Roderic O’Gorman wrote an email to the survivors in response after realising the leakage in the news stating, “I was deeply angered to see details of the report leaked in a newspaper this morning. I am very sorry that many of you have found out elements of the report in this way. It is not acceptable.”
The Minister expressed that his department is working hard to maintain the confidentiality of the report and that no further information will be released to the public until the official publication on Tuesday.
The initial arrangement was for the survivors of the mother-and-baby homes to be the first people to be informed of the findings in an online forum hosted by himself and the Taoiseach after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Opposition parties and other support groups and organisations have sought to establish the source of the leak and called for more consideration to be afforded to all survivors, especially when dealing with such a sensitive and highly emotive topic such as this.
In a statement on Sunday afternoon following the leak, a Government spokesperson said the Taoiseach expressed a commitment to issuing a State apology to the survivors of the mother-and-baby home, which was something that had been discussed and sought for many months (and years).
The State apology and the government’s commitment to providing as much assistance as possible and establishing redress for the survivors will be discussed in The Dáil on Wednesday.
The statement mentioned, “The Minister for Children and Taoiseach promised the government would not be found wanting after this report was published,” “We understand the Minister of Children’s concerns and we will discuss these further at a government level.
“It is important, as we have previously stated, that we respond to the needs of survivors with a comprehensive suite of measures upon publication of the report,” it concluded.