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We'll find out more about the mother-and-baby homes inquiry tomorrow

The government will confirm the identity of the person that will chair the Commission of Inquiry tomorrow.

James Reilly is now the lead minister on the mother-and-baby homes inquiry
James Reilly is now the lead minister on the mother-and-baby homes inquiry
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT IS due to release more details about the large-scale inquiry into the mother-and-baby homes that operated in the State for decades tomorrow.

The identity of the individual who will chair the inquiry and the report of an inter-departmental committee examining what the government knew about the institutions will be outlined tomorrow, the coalition confirmed this evening.

New Children’s Minister James Reilly, who was only appointed last week, brought details of the matter to Cabinet today with it now expected that terms of reference for the inquiry will not be published until later this year.

Reilly’s predecessor as Children’s Minister, Charlie Flanagan, who was in the job for just over two months, had been been heading up the interdepartmental review.

Interest groups, survivors, academics with expertise in the area, and politicians from both sides of the aisle also met with Flanagan over recent weeks to outline their priorities for the inquiry.

Some campaigners have expressed concern in the wake of last week’s reshuffle — stressing that they would have preferred continuity in the Department of Children, considering the amount of work Flanagan had already done.

The Government had previously said it wanted the terms of reference set out before the Dáil’s summer recess, but this now appears unlikely — although TDs are due to debate the issue this Thursday.

A government spokesperson said this evening that “good progress: has been made on the matter” and said that the chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry would want to be involved in the detail of its terms of references.

The spokesperson pointed out that the examination would be vast, as it covers the period from the mid-1920s to the late 1980s.

“There will be no undue delay,” the spokesperson added.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors, who met with the outgoing minister last week, are calling for an international judicial figure to head up the inquiry — they presented him with a list of potential candidates at last Thursday’s meeting.

Additional reporting, Daragh Brophy.

Read: Mother-and-baby home survivors concerned over ministerial switch-around

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