The Social Democrats believe it is imperative that proposed legislation to seal the records of the archives of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes for 30 years is not passed into law when it comes before the Dáil this evening.

A number of amendments to the Bill have been put forward by Social Democrats TDs Jennifer Whitmore, Gary Gannon and Holly Cairns.

Jennifer Whitmore TD, the party’s spokesperson for Children, said:

“Rather than afford the State the opportunity to right the wrongs perpetrated against the women and children in these homes, this Government is compounding the damage done.

“The way in which this legislation has been brought before the Dáil does not allow for sufficient scrutiny or consultation. Most problematic of all, however, is the fact that the women and families affected have not been consulted in the development of this legislation. Their voices will not be heard if it passes in its current form.

“We simply cannot allow for the records relating to the commission to be sealed for 30 years. To do so would be to fail those women and children again.

“The amendments put forward by Minister O’Gorman yesterday do not rectify or address the substantive issue of the sealing of that documentation.

“It is crucial that the Minister opens his heart and eyes when looking at the amendments which the Opposition have put forward.

“It’s important that these women’s voices are heard and we don’t sweep it under the carpet for another 30 years.”

Dublin Central TD Gary Gannon stated:

“To understand the depth of feeling about this issue, last week each TD received over 4,000 emails asking that this legislation not be passed. The emails contained personal testimonies of women’s experiences in mother and baby homes. The truth of this shameful history of incarceration and injustice pertaining to institutional abuse in this country has not yet been told.

“The Minister is planning on sealing 4,000 pages of testimony, yet he does not know what’s contained in there. It could contain testimony about forced adoptions, medical experimentation and all sorts of injustice inflicted on people so it’s important we know what is in there.

“The Social Democrats, like many people in our society, want to stand for the truth. It is imperative that we do not allow the Government to seal these records.”

October 21, 2020

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