Taoiseach to address survivors directly over mother and baby home report

Taoiseach to address survivors directly over mother and baby home report

SURVIVORS of brutal mother and baby homes will meet with the government on Tuesday to the discuss the report's harrowing findings.

The issue will be put to Cabinet by Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman on Tuesday.

Following this, he and Taoiseach Micheál Martin will take part in an online briefing with survivors to discuss the report's contents and what measures will be taken to address their concerns.

The report estimates that approximately 9,000 children - across 18 institutions - died between 1922 and 1998 when they were eventually closed.

Government sources confirm the estimate is based on the disparity between the infant mortality of children born in homes compared to that of the general population at the time.

The report is the culmination of six years of investigative work compiled by Judge Yvonne Murphy and is due to be published following Tuesday afternoon's conference.

A public apology to survivors and their families will be made by Mr Martin in the Dáil on Wednesday, though campaigners and Opposition TDs have requested it be postponed, giving the victims more time to digest the report's findings.

Overseen by nuns, the homes were common destinations for unmarried women to give birth; their babies were then typically given up for adoption in return for donations.

The report documents the mistreatment of women and children in 14 homes, as well four county homes, spanning seven decades from the 1920s to 1990s.

The Government is considering the possibility of a redress scheme to compensate the homes erstwhile residents, as recommended by Mr O'Gorman.

The issue is reportedly dividing officials, however, as the governments culpability for the abuse that occurred in the homes is disputed. This disagreement has contributed toward the delay in the report's publication, sources say.

Controversy has also arisen over parts of the report appearing in the media over the weekend - something officials have promised to investigate. 

Counselling and other health services will be offered to survivors, while the government has also committed to pass legislation helping those who were adopted to find their biological parents, should they wish to do so.

The report is the latest in a sequence of scandals embroiling the Catholic Church and its chequered legacy within the country.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar characterised the homes as a societal "failure" and a source of "shame", going on to tell RTÉ’s Claire Byrne that it was a "essentially a stolen generation of children who didn't get the upbringing they should have had."