#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 14°C Wednesday 28 July 2021
Advertisement

Mother and baby home survivors told they can request full paper copy of commission report if they want to read it

The department said no physical copies of the report were made available ahead of its online release.

File image at a Tuam mother and baby home silent vigil in 2018.
File image at a Tuam mother and baby home silent vigil in 2018.
Image: Brian Farrell

MOTHER AND BABY home survivors and their families have the option of receiving a paper copy of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation final report upon request, the Department of Children has said.

The department also confirmed that no full physical copies of the report were sent ahead of the report’s publication online on Tuesday.

“Abridged versions of the report were posted on Tuesday to the individual stakeholders which the Minister had spoken to in recent weeks who had consented to receiving the copy by post,” a spokesperson for the department said. 

“No copies of the report were provided by the Department ahead of the publication online on Tuesday.” 

The long-awaited final report from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation was released earlier this week.

The report recommended that a State apology, redress and access should be given to survivors of the mother and baby homes operated in Ireland between 1922 and 1998.

The lengthy document confirmed that about 9,000 children died in the 18 homes under investigation – about 15% of all the children who were in the institutions.

The Department of Children has said that any former residents of the mother and baby homes or their family members can be sent a full paper copy of the report upon request.

This is six volumes and around 3,000 pages in length.

A shorter version of the report is also available to be posted out – this is around 304 pages long and covers the introduction, timeline, executive summary, recommendations and confidential committee report. 

Criticism

The fact that survivors were not provided with a copy of the report ahead of Tuesday has been criticised in recent days. 

Independent TD Catherine Connolly said in the Dáil yesterday that members of the Dáil received the executive summary of the report ahead of survivors. 

“No report was ever given to the survivors. They were invited to a webinar where they were told the government’s version and then they were invited to download 3,000 pages,” Connolly said. 

“Your language, and the language of the media, told them that they had the report when they didn’t have the report.”

She said that she found the narrative in the report “repulsive” and criticised the Taoiseach’s State apology issued yesterday.

“You’re saying here today that we’re all responsible. I am not responsible. My family was not responsible. The people I know were not responsible, and those least responsible were those put into the homes,” Connolly said. 

So don’t stand here today and expect me to listen to you with patience when you tell us society did that. Society did it – the society composed of the powerful against the powerless. 

Source: Catherine Connolly TD/YouTube

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Susan Lohan the co-founder of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the survivors of the homes had “neither a copy, nor a slice of the report” ahead of the webinar on Tuesday. 

“[The Department of Children] informed me by email that it was not their intention for survivors to have the hard copy executive summary, that’s all some of us have received, and it was never their intention that we would have it on time for Tuesday’s briefing, the webinar as it became known as,” Lohan said. 

“So, those of us who are computer savvy, who have broadband, who have computers at home, we were able to join the webinar.

But there were tens of thousands who could not. I don’t think it’s going to come as a surprise to people to know that the average 80-year-old woman – and that’s not necessarily a mother, that could be a child – would not necessarily have this technology at their fingertips.

She said people attending the webinar were on mute and no questions were answered despite a chat function being in place. 

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

It will be free of charge for survivors or their family members to receive a copy of either the full report or the shorter version, the Department of Children said, but there could be delays especially if people request the full version. 

The department said that “when the public health situation permits”, printed copies of the full report will be available in public locations like libraries and Citizens Information Services.

“The department wishes to be able to provide a printed copy of the full report to any former resident who wishes to have one,” the department said in a statement.

“If you are a former resident, or a family member, in order for a copy to be sent to you, you will need to provide the department with your postal address.” 

  • The department said people who wish to request a copy of the report should call 01 6473200 from Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 6pm. 
  • People can also email motherandbabyhomes@equality.gov.ie.

Contains reporting by Órla Ryan.

Read next:

COMMENTS (12)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel