27 February 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Speaking today, at the final day of the Social Democrats’ online National Conference, Holly Cairns TD slammed the Government for its shameful treatment of survivors of Mother and Baby Homes.
Following a conversation with guest speaker Dr Maeve O’Rourke, lecturer in Human Rights at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Holly said:
“Maeve has done such incredible work in communicating the injustices around institutional abuse in Ireland, from the Magdalene Laundries to the Mother and Baby Homes. Her work with the Clann project has been invaluable to all political parties and none, but especially to the survivors of institutional abuse in this State. Anybody seeking justice and truth needs this type of expert help.
“We have been dealing with decades of abuse at the hands of the State and religious orders. It must be recalled that the Commission of Investigation was not set up because the State wanted to find justice – it was forced to do so after the tragic discovery of hundreds of babies and children in a mass grave in a disused septic tank in Tuam.
“The Commission was extended multiple time to allow it to do its work, yet the Government is denying survivors’ requests for a further extension so that questions about the accuracy of their testimonies and access to their data can be dealt with. This week, the Government allowed the Social Democrats’ motion on this issue to pass in the Dáil while at the same time refusing to give legislative effect to it.
“Concerns raised yesterday by the Data Protection Commissioner about the Commission of Investigation’s archives being handed over to the Minister for Children further highlight the need for an extension. This was supposed to be a truth-getting exercise, but we’ve just ended up with untruths and inaction from the Government.”