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Social Democrats vote unanimously to push government towards clear redress scheme for Mother and Baby Home survivors

At the party’s national conference, Social Democrats voted to call on the government to prioritise addressing survivors’ concerns.

Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS have passed a motion to push the government to set out a redress scheme for Mother and Baby Home survivors at its national conference this afternoon.

The motion sets out the party’s plan to call on the government to prioritise measures that address the concerns of survivors, including legislative change around access to personal information and records.

The Social Democrats voted to call on the government to set out “how they will introduce a proper redress scheme, in close consultation with survivors, and ensure the religious order contribute significantly and appropriately”.

The party has also committed to asking the government to set out how it will ensure proper investigations into the issues raised by the Commission of Investigation’s report, protection for burial sites, and the establishment of a dedicated criminal justice unit and human-rights compliant coroner’s inquests and exhumations.

The motion garnered strong support, with 235 members voting to accept it and no votes registered in opposition.

One person chose to abstain from the vote.

Speaking at the Social Democrats’ conference, TD Holly Cairns said that Ireland has “been dealing with decades of abuse at the hands of the State and religious orders”.

Cairns said that the state was forced to set up the Commission of Investigation “after the tragic discovery of hundreds of babies and children in a mass grave in a disused septic tank in Tuam”.

“The Commission was extended multiple time to allow it to do its work, yet the Government is denying survivors’ requests for a further extension so that questions about the accuracy of their testimonies and access to their data can be dealt with. This week, the Government allowed the Social Democrats’ motion on this issue to pass in the Dáil while at the same time refusing to give legislative effect to it,” she said.

“Concerns raised yesterday by the Data Protection Commissioner about the Commission of Investigation’s archives being handed over to the Minister for Children further highlight the need for an extension. This was supposed to be a truth-getting exercise, but we’ve just ended up with untruths and inaction from the Government.”

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Campaigners gathered outside the office of the Commission in Dublin today in protest of how survivors have been treated.

Protesters are raising concerns over the handling of witness testimony and the representation of the survivors’ experiences.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, one survivor has said that her testimony to the Commission was “misrepresented” to a “shocking extent” and that important context was missing in the final report.

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