Cabinet to consider mother and baby home redress proposals

Pressure mounts on commission members to appear before Oireachtas committee

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman: among those calling for Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy, Prof Mary Daly and Dr William Duncan  to come before the Oireachtas Committee on Children.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman: among those calling for Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy, Prof Mary Daly and Dr William Duncan to come before the Oireachtas Committee on Children. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

The Cabinet is set to consider proposals on redress for survivors of mother and baby homes but is unlikely to move to repudiate the overall report of the now-dissolved commission.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman will bring a memo to Cabinet at either the end of this month or the start of July, it is understood, detailing his plans to provide redress for the women who were resident in the homes.

The Department of Children carried out an extensive consultation and received about 450 submissions from survivors and advocates, detailing what they wanted to see from the proposed redress scheme.

A number of senior Government sources have indicated they will not move to repudiate or reject the final report of the commission despite pressure from opposition parties to do so.

Face questioning

Pressure is also mounting on the members of the commission to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Children. TDs and Senators have asked the members of the commission to come before the committee to answer questions about their work.

The three members were Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy, Prof Mary Daly and Dr William Duncan.

The invite was sent on Friday afternoon to the head of the now-dissolved commission, Ms Justice Murphy.

The committee, which is chaired by Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion, set a meeting date of June 17th.

TDs want to question the members of the commission in light of an appearance by Prof Daly at an academic event this week.

At the Oxford University webinar, Prof Daly made comments about the role of the evidence given by women to the confidential arm of the commission about their experiences in the homes.

She said she had spoken with colleagues about how they could have “integrated the confidential inquiry into the report” but said “it would have taken a lot of additional time” and “hundreds of hours of cross checking, re-reading against the other evidence available from registers and so on”.

Urged to appear

Both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar have called on the commission members to appear before TDs and Senators to answer questions.

Speaking to The Irish Times last night, Mr O’Gorman reiterated his call for the commissioners to appear and said he himself had written to them urging them to do so.

Mr Varadkar said such engagement did happen “for previous reports of this nature – the Ryan report, the Scally report, the McAleese report, maybe not the same legal structure but the same essential processes”.

He said the people who were commissioned to do those reports were “willing to explain their report to the Oireachtas and to the people who were subject to that report”.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission also said on Friday that it was adding its voice to the calls from survivors and members of Government.

Amnesty International called on the Government to “acknowledge that the report cannot stand as an official record”.