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Ireland's Past

The Government is on track to finally investigate mother-and-baby homes

Survivors want a fully inclusive inquiry into what happened to them.

CAMPAIGNERS ARE AWAITING the publication of the terms of inquiry into mother-and-baby homes in Ireland.

Cabinet will meet tomorrow to discuss the terms, which will be officially announced that day.

The commission for inquiry was announced after the discovery in Tuam of a septic tank site that could hold the bodies of children born in a nearby mother-and-baby home. The scandal led to a country-wide discussion about such homes.

Representatives from the concerned groups have been invited to meet with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly, for a briefing session tomorrow after the terms are announced.

The terms will be brought to the Oireachtas for debate, and if they are passed by both houses, the Taoiseach will sign the order to establish the commission.

Speaking today, Minister Reilly said that “we all owe a debt of gratitude to Catherine Corless and the work she did on the deaths of babies at Tuam”.

He also acknowledged the work done by his predecessor Charlie Flanagan in this area, and thanked those who made submissions and told him about their experiences at the homes.

He said he that the terms will try to answer questions around how mothers and babies were treated in a long period of time in Ireland’s history.

Protestant homes

Some survivors have been campaigning for Protestant homes to be included in the commission.

They want the question of Protestant survivors not to be overlooked by the State, and to be treated in an urgent manner.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Homes has previously said that they fear the terms will be narrow, but said that if the terms fall short of their expectations, they will seek meetings with ministers.

“The entire network of institutions, people, adoption agencies, nursing homes, holding centres, etc, must be investigated in its totality,” said the coalition members of the inquiry.

They said there should be an immediate acknowledgement and apology to all survivors.

Derek Leinster, of the Bethany Survivors Group, said that the Irish Government “should be leading by example instead of procrastinating” on the issue of Protestant mother-and-baby homes.

Read: Fears that survivors will die before mother-and-baby home probe even begins>

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