Judge Yvonne Murphy to head mother-and-baby inquiry

Terms of reference to be set in Autumn

Part of a  protest last month following the revelations about the Tuam mother-and-baby home and deaths babies in other  State-run institutions. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Part of a protest last month following the revelations about the Tuam mother-and-baby home and deaths babies in other State-run institutions. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 16:30

The Government has appointed Judge Yvonne Murphy to chair the Commission of Investigation into mother-and-baby homes.

However, speaking this afternoon, Minister for Children James Reilly said the exact terms of reference for the inquiry had yet to be decided.

Dr Reilly said the Government would not finalise the terms of reference until the autumn but said everything is “on the table”. There have been calls to include other institutions, such as Magdalene Laundries, in any inquiry.

Judge Murphy previously headed up a commission of investigation into clerical sex abuse, which led to the Murphy Report in 2009.

The latest investigation was prompted by reports that 796 babies and children had died at the Tuam mother and baby home between 1925 and 1961.

“On the return of the Dáil after the summer recess I intend tabling a draft order to establish the commission under the Commission of Investigation Act, 2004 together with a statement providing an estimate of the costs to be incurred by the commission in conducting the investigation and a time frame for its work,” the Minister said. “This is a complex task and it is very important it is completed to the highest standard.

“As highlighted in the report of the inter-departmental group, past experience indicates that the establishment of a commission of investigation must be handled very carefully and precisely in order to ensure the Commission is set up on the most sound footing possible.”