Mother and Baby Homes inquiry could ‘close sensitive chapter’

Group tells Minister for Children commission of inquiry must be inclusive, wide-ranging

Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan was told today it was essential all relevant institutions be included within the remit of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan was told today it was essential all relevant institutions be included within the remit of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 18:25

Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan was told today it was essential all relevant institutions be included within the remit of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

Such a decision would allow “Ireland to once and for all face up to its past and close this very sensitive chapter in our history.”

At a meeting with the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors (CMABS), Mr Flanagan was told by group spokesman Paul Redmond that “as the largest representative body of survivors, we want to ensure that this is the final institutional inquiry.” He continued: “we are committed to our belief that no one gets left behind.”

Terms of reference for the new Commission of Investigation are expected to be announced in the Dáil next Thursday.

Mr Flanagan was told by group members that the Commission of Investigation should include all issues surrounding the separation of single mothers and their babies and children since 1922 as well as all other related matters including inhumane/degrading treatment and high mortality rates, vaccine trials, banished babies, all Protestant institutions,and county homes.

They also requested that adoption records be opened and called for “ a proper investigation of the Magdalene Laundries, fathers rights, etc.”

Theresa Tinggal, of Adopted Illegally Ireland, called for a full investigation into illegal adoptions to be included.

The group asked to be consulted on the structure and rollout of the Commission of Investigation and that an independent, international judicial chairperson be appointed to head it.

They asked too for direct input into the selection of all key personnel on the Commission and presented the Minister with a list of potential candidates who may be available.

Memorials for all Angel plots was also raised by the group, as a gesture to begin the process of healing.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors was formed last year with the purpose of preparing a complaint to the UN Committee Against Torture. Its membership is made up of Adoption Rights Now, Beyond Adoption Ireland, Adopted Illegally Ireland, the Bethany Home Survivors, the Castlepollard Mother and Baby Home Group and the Dunboyne Mother and Baby Home Group. Internationally, it is connected to and supported by similar groups including the Adoption Coalition.

Speaking after their discussion with Mr Flanagan, Mr Redmond said “we welcome this positive meeting today as a sign of the Government’s commitment to addressing these issues.”