Mother and baby home survivors criticise Government approach to inquiry

Mother and baby home survivors criticise Government approach to inquiry


SURVIVORS of Ireland’s infamous mother and baby homes have expressed their “disappointment” at the lack of progress and inclusion in the government inquiry.

The comments come a year after nearly 800 skeletons were discovered in a mass grave in Tuam, Co. Galway, on the site formerly occupied by the Bon Secours mother and baby home.

On the anniversary of the harrowing discovery, survivor groups across Britain and Ireland have expressed their disappointment in the state’s approach to the investigation.

A review of the ongoing inquiry is not expected for at least 12 months – despite some survivors campaigning for years for justice.

But the issue of "inclusion" is one of the biggest flaws in the Irish Government’s approach, some survivors believe.

“I am disappointed that there is not full inclusion within and also the slow pace of the Commission of Inquiry,” said Catherine Corless, the historian who broke the news of the Tuam babies.

Her sentiments were echoed by Warwickshire-based survivor Derek Leinster, a long-time campaigner for inclusion for all victims.

Mr Leinster, who is a survivor of the Protestant-run Bethany Home in Dublin, said: “Protestant survivors have been the victims of state discrimination since 1922 and all Protestant survivors must be included as equal Irish citizens.”

The state's Commission of Inquiry was established in February, after Minister for Children Dr James Reilly introduced the terms of reference to the Dáil.

Three commissioners were appointed to oversee the Inquiry – but the survivor groups believe the terms of reference are restricted to “limited” matters and will not “move beyond the high walls” of the mother and baby homes.

When The Irish Post requested an update on the inquiry, Ita Mangan, a barrister working on the Commission, stated: “The investigation is in progress and aims to complete its work within the allocated times. The Commission will shortly be advertising for people to come to recount their experiences.  Otherwise, the Commission does not propose to make any public statements about its work.”

The government has allocated three years to the inquiry, with a review expected after 18 months – which would take place in the  summer of 2016.