A NUMBER OF groups representing the women and children that were in mother and baby homes have raised concerns about the interdepartmental report published today.
The new Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly published the report examining what the government know about the homes. Judge Yvonne Murphy was also announced as the chairperson of the Commission of Investigation into mother and baby homes.
While Paul Redmond, spokesperson for the Coalition of Mother and Baby Homes Survivors (CMABS) said that report published today was “reasonably comprehensive” he said there were some “glaring omissions”.
The citing of some holding centres, but the exclusion of the Temple Hill holding centre was concerning, they said.
He said that only including registered births to calculate figures in the nine mother and baby homes instead of the numbers of expectant mothers “also seriously misrepresents and downplays the numbers involved” he claimed.
Redmond also stated that it is presently unclear from the report of the interdepartmental group whether all of the institutions will be included in the terms of reference.
The conclusions from the report seem to indicate that the county homes will not be expressly included in the inquiry, as regards providing redress.
Derek Leinster, Chairperson of the Bethany Survivors Group said the omission of the Protestant West Bank Home from the report was concerning to them.
He said the reference that the commission will not re-investigating institutions covered by the Ryan Commission “makes no sense when it comes to Protestant survivors” they added.
We pointed out in our submission, the Ryan Commission did not investigate these institutions. The Ryan Commission stated there were few if any Protestant orphans because, ‘there was a waiting list of would–be adopters’.That was not the experience of the vast majority never adopted in the Westbank Orphanage Co Wicklow, or the foster children in the care of the Nurse Rescue Society, who were used as free farm labourers from the age of five.
“Although the Bethany Home is mentioned, at last, what about the Church of Ireland Magdalen home that was also a so-called mother and baby home?” he asked.
“The abuse this group suffered has never been investigated and, if this report has its way, never will. If this goes through, it will be a disgrace and a farce” said Leinster.
CMABS also expressed disappointment that an international judge was not appointed, and whilst acknowledging Judge Murphy did a commendable job chairing the Murphy Commission into child sex abuse, the coalition said they are aware of concerns by symphysiotomy survivors regarding the redress scheme which Judge Murphy was recently involved in overseeing, they said.
The report published today stated that the time available to the group to survey the many issues and diverse sources of information has been extremely compressed. “Initial examinations have served to highlight the volume and range of records that are potentially relevant to the work of the Commission,”it stated.