22 March 2017
By Tom Collins
Sinn Féin TD for Cork East Pat Buckley has called on the Government to support a Sinn Féin motion to establish a Truth Commission to investigate conditions at Mother and Baby Homes across the state following the revelations of mass graves at a home which had operated in Tuam. He said that the full truth being revealed was the only way to address the stain on Irish society caused by the scandal and to allow healing for survivors.
Deputy Buckley said:
“If one thing is clear about how we must proceed with addressing the shameful scandal of abuse, neglect and imprisonment represented by the Mother and Baby Homes which operated in this state, it is that we must as a principle accept the word of and believe the survivors of these crimes.
“I believe the survivors of places like Bessborough and Bethany and others.
“I believe them when they describe a kind of existence which if perfectly honest I don’t want to believe. However, I know from their dignity and resolve and from the catalogue of already exposed outrages, that these horrors they speak of are true and that they must be brought out into the light.
“Sinn Féin’s motion demands that we ensure a process for that to happen, so that survivors can seek solace in that openness and that we as a nation examine ourselves and our society and truly say, never again.
“It is only by seeking the truth, and speaking it loudly, that healing will be allowed to happen. Untold hurt has been done and this chance for healing has come far too late but we can begin that process now.
“Many of the women who survived these crimes have already gone on record. This is not an easy thing for anyone to do with such a deep trauma. We must respect that and seek to allow existing testimony to be treated with due respect and to not be ignored, especially for survivors who are no longer with us.
“We must also ensure today that we build an Ireland which respects and defends the right of women as has not been the case even to this day.”