IRELAND’S Minister for the Diaspora has pledged to support survivors of the nation’s brutal mother and baby home institutions now living abroad as a compensation scheme totalling €800million is announced.
Minister Colm Brophy made a statement directed at the Irish abroad as the Government revealed its Mother & Baby Institutions Payment Scheme - which is set to benefit 34,000 survivors and former residents of these homes with redress payments of up to £65,000.
“On the day that the Irish Government has published the Payment Scheme for the survivors of mother and baby homes it is important to recognise the particular legacy of trauma and hurt felt so deeply by those survivors living abroad, most particularly in Britain, which is home to the largest number of survivors outside Ireland,” he said.
“I would like to especially acknowledge how difficult this year has been for all survivors, their families and for those communities, particularly in Britain, that have been working on behalf of the survivors,” he added.
“As minister with special responsibility for the diaspora, I am committed to working closely with colleagues across Government to ensure the needs of those survivors living abroad continue to be reflected in implementation of the Scheme and the Action Plan.
“Through our Embassies and Consulates we will work closely with the Department of Children, Equality , Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) to communicate back to those survivors and to their representatives living abroad.”
Under the Scheme, which was announced yesterday by Children and Equalities Minister Roderic O’Gorman, survivors of Ireland’s mother and baby homes will receive redress payments of up to €65,000.
There will be another work-related payment also available for women who were resident in certain institutions for more than three months and who undertook ‘commercial’ work in these homes.
These payments will range from €1,500 to €60,000.
The scheme will also provide an enhanced medical card to everyone who was resident in a mother and baby or county home for six months or more – however those who are eligible for the card but now live overseas will have the choice take the card or a one-off payment of €3,000 in lieu of it.
“The publication of the Action Plan, including the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme has been keenly awaited by former residents of these institutions, including those survivors living abroad,” Minister Brophy said.
“The Scheme means that survivors living abroad will have access to a financial payment on the same basis as those living in Ireland, and will also have access to either an enhanced medical card or a once-off payment in lieu of the card.”
He added: “Having a dedicated point of contact for those living outside Ireland is a particular request that has been conveyed strongly to us by Irish community and welfare organisations worldwide.
“Work is currently underway on the development of an enhanced model of engagement involving a dedicated Advocate for survivors and former residents,” he confirmed.
“It will be important that any “Advocate” has the necessary resources to properly engage with the particular concerns of survivors living abroad.”
For further details on the Scheme and how it will operate click here.