The Government’s cowardly actions will not be forgiven and will serve as a shameful legacy of its term in office

The Government’s decision not to oppose the Social Democrats’ private members’ motion on mother and baby homes today has been described by Holly Cairns TD as cynical and cowardly.

Deputy Cairns, who introduced the motion to the Dáil this morning, said:

“The Government was presented with an opportunity to finally achieve real justice for survivors and recognise the litany of human rights violations that occurred in these institutions, in addition to the suffering of those who were boarded out and abused.

“Like the Commission of Investigation that preceded it, the proposed redress scheme is deeply flawed and does not take into account the individual trauma experienced by survivors. Thousands of victims are also excluded from the scheme, including children who spent less than six months in an institution. This cannot be allowed to stand.

“Our motion called for the removal of an obligation for survivors to sign a waiver, which would preclude them from seeking justice in the courts. We also proposed an immediate interim payment while a proper redress scheme is developed.

“Some survivors will receive as little as €5,000 under current proposals, despite a lifetime of pain – you would get multiples of that for a whiplash injury.

“We want the Government to have the guts to stand up to the religious orders and pharmaceutical companies and demand substantial financial contributions for the role they played in the systematic abuse of innocent women and children.

“In allowing our motion to pass today, the Government is cynically trying to give the impression that it agrees with our proposals, while in reality we all know it fully intends to plough ahead with a miserly redress scheme that is deeply insulting to survivors and their families.

“The Government’s cowardly actions today will not be forgiven and will serve as a shameful legacy of its term in office.

“The Minister is deluded if he thinks this issue is just going to go away. I am determined to fight this so-called redress scheme, which ignores survivors’ needs and disregards human rights abuses, every step of the way.”

October 19, 2022

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