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Dublin: 17 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

Here’s how to make a submission to the mother and baby homes inquiry

Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan has encouraged those who wish to make a submission to “act without delay”.

Bessborough Single Mothers and Babies Homes

A headstone for a baby who died at the Bessborough mother and baby home in Blackrock, Cork in the mid-1990's.

Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A NEW EMAIL address for submissions on the terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation into mother and baby homes has been launched.

Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan announced this morning that anyone who wishes to make a submission should contact motherandbabyhomes@dcya.gov.ie.

Flanagan said that submissions could relate to the institutions or locations that should be considered for inclusion or the general matters that the commission should examine.

The Government is anxious to have the Commission of Investigation established before the Dáil recess and has set a tight deadline. I am urging those who wish to make submissions to act without delay in availing of this opportunity to inform the considerations now underway.

The Minister will meet with a number of advocacy groups and members of other political parties in the coming weeks to discuss the terms of reference.

Flanagan said that the cross-departmental review committee tasked with examining the issue will report to the government before the end of this month.

He had previously confirmed that the scope of the investigation will go beyond the home operated by the Sisters of Bon Secours in Tuam, Co Galway – the site of a mass grave where almost 800 babies are thought to be buried.

The inquiry will deal with other mother and baby homes, including Bethany Home. Flanagan has stated that county homes will not be included however, to avoid “a bottomless quagmire of investigation”.

Counselling services

A number of services have been made available to people affected by the issues raised. Those seeking information on the support services can contact the HSE National Information Line on 1850 24 1850 from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

People can also talk to trained counsellors through Connect, a free out-of-hours support line from 6 pm to 10 pm. The service is normally only available from Wednesday to Sunday, but will expand to a seven-day service until the end of July.

The number is 1800 477 477 in Republic of Ireland and 00800 477 477 77 in Northern Ireland and the UK.

Connect Manager Theresa Merrigan said: “As a service that supports people who were affected by traumatic experiences in Industrial Schools, the Laundries and Mother and Baby Homes we anticipate extra need at this time.”

The National Counselling Service is also available to assist those affected.

People seeing adoption and tracing information have been advised to contact Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) or the Adoption Authority of Ireland.

Read: Multiple government departments to deal with ‘deeply disturbing revelations’ of child burials

Read: Bethany Home, where 222 children died, to be included in mother and baby home investigation

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