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Flowers and other tributes to the children buried in an unmarked grave at the site of a former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway (file photo)
legal delays

Mother and Baby Homes: Collaborative Forum's report to finally be published - after years of delays

One member of the forum has said it’s largely pointless to publish the report now.

A REPORT WRITTEN by the Mother and Baby Home Collaborative Forum will finally be published after legal issues caused years of delays.  

In an email sent to a number of survivors this evening, Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman confirmed that he intends to present the forum’s report to the Cabinet next Tuesday, 15 November, for its consideration, “with a view to publishing the report immediately thereafter”.

The forum, which comprised survivors of mother and baby homes, was established in 2018 by then-Minister Katherine Zappone.

The group was designed to be a consultative platform between the Department of Children and survivors on legacy issues while the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby was carrying out its work.

Members of the forum compiled a comprehensive report detailing their concerns and recommendations. It was submitted to the Government in December 2018.

However, the report was never published in full – to the dismay of many forum members.

The Government published the forum’s summary recommendations on 16 April 2019, but Minister Zappone said the full report could not be published – citing legal advice from the Attorney General.

It’s understood that the report included sharp criticism of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

Many survivors questioned why the report could not have been published with any necessary redactions. A number of members left the forum in protest over the Government’s handling of the report and other issues.

Former members of the forum have expressed anger that their report is only being published now – over three years after it was completed and nearly two years after the Commission’s final report was published.

One survivor today called the delay “disgraceful”, adding that publishing the report now – after key decisions have already been made in relation to redress and other issues – is largely pointless.

At the Cabinet meeting next Tuesday, Minister O’Gorman also informed survivors he intends to bring a memorandum “which will seek the approval of Government for proposals to establish a new model of engagement with survivors”.

The statement added: “Subject to Government approval the Minister will share details of the new model of engagement, and the Report of the Collaborative Forum, with you after the Cabinet meeting and in advance of wider publication.”

There has been widespread criticism over the lack of communication between the Government and survivors in recent years – in particular since the Commission’s final report was published in January 2021.  

A number of survivors have told The Journal they believe their wishes have been ignored in relation to issues such as redress and how the Commission handled their testimony.


The Government’s planned redress scheme is currently making its way through the Oireachtas.

Since initial details of the scheme were announced last November, there has been much criticism of the fact it excludes people who were boarded out, a precursor to fostering, and those who spent less than six months in an institution as a child.

All mothers who spent time in an institution are entitled to a payment, which increases depending on the length of their stay.

Mothers who spent up to three months in an institution are entitled to €5,000 while those who spent up to six months are entitled to €10,000, for example.

According to the Commission’s final report, the average length of stay of mothers was 154 days – about five months.

Refined payment bands were confirmed last month, but thousands of people remain excluded from the scheme.

Women who had to work while living in one of the institutions can also apply for a separate payment which starts at €1,500 and also increases based on their length of stay.

The Government expects the scheme to cost about €800 million and be open to around 34,000 survivors. The scheme is due to open “as soon as possible” in 2023, missing a previous deadline of this year.

Redacted Lives


The Journal yesterday launched a new six-part documentary series about mother and baby homes, telling the stories of women and children who passed through the system.

Redacted Lives will follow the experiences of mothers who ended up in institutions because they became pregnant outside marriage, as well as people born into the system.

Tens of thousands of pregnant women and girls were sent to mother and baby homes in Ireland throughout the 20th century. Their children were usually adopted or sent to industrial schools – often without their mother’s consent.

Mother and baby homes existed in many countries but the proportion of unmarried mothers sent to institutions here is believed to have been the highest in the world.

Many women have tried to find their children over the years, but to no avail. Adopted people also struggled to find their parents, or information about their early life.

These people were silenced for decades – and when the State finally said it would investigate the system via a Commission of Investigation, many of their stories were dismissed and disregarded.

Redacted Lives gives those women and their children the chance to tell the real story of mother and baby homes, and how the State continues to deny survivors access to information, proper redress and ownership of their true identities.

Finally, they get to speak in their own words, in their own voices.

New episodes will be released every Thursday. Subscribe to the series wherever you get your podcasts.

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If you passed through a mother and baby home or another institution and want to share your story, you can contact us in confidence by emailing