Voices of Mother and Baby Home Survivors must be Heard

11 January 2021

Ivana Bacik

Reacting to the leaked details of the Report into the Mother and Baby Home Commission published yesterday, Labour Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Senator Ivana Bacik has said, 

“I am dismayed and appalled at the leak of information from the Report of the Commission into Mother and Baby Homes, as published in yesterday’s Sunday Independent. It is of real concern that harrowing details from the report should have been made public before survivors have had any sight of the Report. I note that the Collaborative Forum group of Mother and Baby/County and Bethany Homes survivors, has expressed their anger and dismay that this leak has occurred. I call on the Taoiseach and Minister for Children to expedite an inquiry into the circumstances of the leak. 

“I welcome the announcement that the Taoiseach will deliver a State apology to survivors and those impacted by the Mother and Baby Homes Report,. However, I join with Labour leader Deputy Alan Kelly in asking that the Taoiseach and Government should consider postponing the making of this apology, which we understand is due to take place in Dáil Éireann on Wednesday, January 13th 2021.  

“Careful consideration must be given to the content of the report, which runs up to 3,000 pages and includes over 1,000 survivor testimonies. If survivors seek a short postponement to provide them with time to read the report in full and to become fully appraised of its findings and recommendations, then we believe that request must be granted. The voices of survivors must be listened to. 

“We are particularly concerned at the disclosure to be made in the report that 9,000 infants died in the 19 homes under investigation over six decades, a mortality rate twice that of general society. We are also deeply concerned at the findings that have reportedly been made as to the extensive trafficking of children for adoption, and the apparently widespread practice of forced adoption. We also think of the plight of the many women who gave birth in maternity hospitals and other institutions, whose children were similarly taken in many cases for forced adoption and who may have suffered the same human rights abuses as many within the institutions investigated by the Commission. 

“We ask that the detailed recommendations to be made by the Commission would now be given serious consideration by government, without any further delay.  In particular, we need to see legislation on a right to information and tracing for adopted persons brought forward swiftly; adequate restitution and enhanced supports to be made available to survivors; and detail as to the provision for memorial sites. Labour will continue to play a constructive role in Opposition to ensure that right is done by survivors.”