Gardaí appeal for survivors of Mother & Baby Homes to come forward to help criminal investigation

Gardaí appeal for survivors of Mother & Baby Homes to come forward to help criminal investigation

AN GARDA Síochána have appealed for victims of Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes to come forward to help with an investigation.

Gardaí have opened an investigation into abuse in the State's Mother and Baby Homes, which once held Ireland's unmarried mothers and their children, and which the Taoiseach issued an official apology for earlier this year.

A Commission has been set up to further examine the claims of abuse and other crimes which took place within the homes, and while a dedicated team reviewed the report which was released this year, they say there is still insufficient detail to commence a full investigation as the victims involved in the report remained anonymous.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told a meeting of the Policing Authority that there have been concerning allegations including rape, incest and children as young as 12 becoming pregnant within the institutions, and the force has appealed for victims to come forward.

While they have warned there could be some limitations as to which criminal justice actions can be taken due to the passage of time in some cases, they have urged anyone affected by the institutions, or anyone with information, to speak out in an attempt to bring those responsible to justice.

In a statement, AN Garda Síochána said they are "fully aware of the profound impact on the lives of those who were in Mother and Baby Homes and the concerns of the wider public on how Mother and Baby Homes operated.

"An Garda Síochána is inviting anyone who was the victim of a criminal act arising out of the Mother and Baby Homes, or who has information likely to assist an investigation into a criminal act committed at a Mother and Baby Home, to please come forward and report this."

Anyone who wishes to come forward should contact Gardaí by emailing [email protected] or calling to their local Garda station.

A confidential and free service, the Garda Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Line can also be reached on 1800 555 222 for anyone wishing to come forward.

"While it is our intention to effectively deal with all complaints and information received, there will be limitations as to the action we can take in some cases due to matters such as the loss of evidence over time or suspects and/or witnesses being deceased," the statement reads.

"Where these factors are present, An Garda Síochána will diligently explain such limitations to complainants. "