Taoiseach defends mother and baby homes redress scheme

Not for Government to repudiate commission’s report, Martin says

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has defended the redress scheme for the survivors of mother and baby homes and said there are no plans to reopen or review it.

Earlier this year the Government announced plans for an €800 million redress scheme for survivors.

Opposition parties called for a “rethink” and criticised how the scheme does not include children who were resident for less than six months, including boarded-out children.

During a pre-Christmas interview, Mr Martin said the redress scheme went "significantly beyond" some of the suggestions that were made by the commission and called it "very, very comprehensive".


Asked if there are plans to reopen or review the redress scheme he replied: “Not at this stage, no.”

He added: “Obviously it now has to go to legislation so that could take the best part of 2022.

“We will engage with the Opposition and there will be consultation in relation to it and we will follow through and we will obviously take views... on board as we go through the legislative process.”

Mr Martin said the scheme will be developed alongside information and tracing legislation, which was passed by Government and will be published in January.

Rights breach

Separately, earlier this month the State acknowledged in the High Court that the rights of eight former residents of mother and baby homes were breached by the failure to provide them with a draft copy of the commission of investigation's report prior to its publication.

Mr Martin was asked if the Government would repudiate the commission’s report in the wake of a recent High Court case.

He said: “It’s not for Government to repudiate the report.”

He said a previous government set up the commission and it has proven difficult “as a society and historically to get the ideal model to investigate the past”.

Mr Martin said: “Whether the commission of investigation was the ideal remains to be seen”, adding: “That’s not casting any aspersions on those who carried out the inquiry”. He said they had to work within its terms of reference.

He added the High Court case was “about giving people access to the personal testimonies or the commission’s report in respect of them being satisfied with how their testimony was treated”.

“And they weren’t given that access when they should have been given that access.

“That in itself doesn’t render the entire report itself flawed.”

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times