Zappone has ‘open mind’ on redress for residents of mother and baby homes

Minister confirms new forum will be established to support former residents

Katherine Zappone: she will bring a report on the expert technical group on the Tuam site to Cabinet next week

Katherine Zappone: she will bring a report on the expert technical group on the Tuam site to Cabinet next week

 

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has “an open mind” on a potential redress scheme for former residents of mother and baby homes.

On Tuesday night Ms Zappone published the interim report of the commission of inquiry into the mother and baby homes, which has sought an additional year to conclude its work.

The Minister also confirmed a new forum would be established to support former residents in developing solutions to the issues they face.

A spokesman for Ms Zappone said it was essential residents could contribute to the decisions on these matters. Asked if that extended to a possible financial compensation, he said this was not a decision solely for her and would have to be a Government decision. However, he stated Ms Zappone had an open mind on this matter.

The interim report of the commission confirmed it had met 346 former residents and is seeking to meet 200 others. It has also begun the process of assessing available death records, but said there were significant gaps in the information available about the burials of babies.

The commission has heard evidence from 140 individuals about conditions in the institutions. These include former residents, workers and representatives of the authorities who ran the institutions.

An additional year was sought, and it is now hoping to conclude its work by February 2019.

Expert technical group

Meanwhile, Ms Zappone confirmed she would bring a report on the expert technical group on the Tuam site to Cabinet next week. The group was established by the Minister after a significant number of human remains were found during archaeological work initiated last year for the commission of investigation.

Forensic archaeologist Niamh McCullagh was appointed to lead the work and bring together a team of international experts in juvenile osteoarchaeology, forensic anthropology, DNA analysis and archaeology to provide the necessary advice.

Ms Zappone said the report examined a number of options to appropriately respond to the discovery of human remains.