It is truly despicable that survivors have found out, via the media, that this review has been scrapped

Children’s Minister Roderick O’Gorman has again betrayed and failed survivors of mother and baby homes, according to Social Democrats Social Justice Spokesperson Holly Cairns.

“In response to the considerable anger and distress caused by the manner in which the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation discounted personal testimonies provided to its confidential committee, Minister O’Gorman promised a review of that testimony by an international human rights expert.

“This was a firm commitment that was made by the Minister to survivors in June 2021 – 14 months ago. Now, it transpires this review has been quietly shelved. In fact, it appears that it was an option that was never really pursued by the Minister.

“It is truly despicable that survivors have found out, via the media, that this review has been scrapped. The Minister failed to inform survivors it was not going ahead – even though, it appears the Minister made a decision early on to abandon it.

“According to a statement from the Department, there are instead vague plans to conduct some other “initiative to support survivors to tell their personal story, so that it can be formally recorded and accepted as part of the official record”. This statement is damning because it is a clear acceptance that survivors’ personal stories are not currently part of the State’s official record of this dark period of our history. They have been airbrushed out.

“This is just the latest occasion that survivors of mother and baby homes have been betrayed and failed by the State. Given their shameful treatment, why would any survivor have any confidence in any “initiative” now proposed by the Minister.

“Survivors of mother and baby homes are a vulnerable and, predominantly, elderly group. It was hugely traumatic for many of them to give their testimonies to the Mother and Baby Homes Commission. They did so, at great personal cost, because they wanted the official record to accurately document the abuse and torment they suffered in these institutions. It was devastating to discover, when the report was published, that their testimony was not given any credence.

“Now, the Minister is effectively telling survivors he doesn’t care that the official State record of mother and baby homes is fundamentally flawed. Truth and justice for survivors has again been sacrificed by the State on the altar of expediency.

“The mother and baby homes report is a rewriting people’s lived experience and, with it, Irish history. If the Minister cannot correct the report, then he should repudiate it.”

29 August, 2022


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