The Social Democrats have submitted a Bill to extend the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes by another year.

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

“We are hoping to publish this Bill in response to discovering that audio recordings of all 550 witnesses interviewed as part of the Commission of Investigation process have been destroyed. We feel it is necessary that an investigation into this shocking development should be facilitated unhindered.

“However, as legislation is currently drafted, the Commission is due to wind down on February 28, a mere two weeks from now. It is important that we respond quickly and facilitate a later dissolution of the Commission by amending existing legislation.

“Our Bill seeks to delay this dissolution by one year to facilitate ongoing Data Protection Commission review and other relevant authorities’ investigations into the destruction of the recordings and allow for any potential salvage of remaining testimony.

“Several witnesses have made complaints to the Data Protection Commission and many more are very concerned about why this happened in the first place. Throughout the work of the Commission of Investigation, survivors have been left with more questions than answers during a very difficult and traumatic time for them.

“It’s important that the Government moves quickly to prevent any further destruction of archive material by supporting our Bill through the Dáil. The Bill also reiterates that the remaining archive of the Commission of Investigation will be transferred to the Minister by the end of this month, as currently stated in legislation.

“The Social Democrats will be looking for cross-party support for our Bill and call on all members of the House to vote in favour of this legislation so that answers can be found. We cannot allow the State to fail the survivors of Mother and Baby Homes again.”

February 12, 2021

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