Children's minister accused of misrepresenting Mother and Baby Homes report

Children's minister accused of misrepresenting Mother and Baby Homes report

Children's minister Katherine Zappone has been accused of "completely misrepresenting" the recommendations of the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes by offering to amend the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill.

Last week, Ms Zappone published only the recommendations of the forum, citing legal advice from the Attorney General.

She intends to publish the full report after the Commission publishes its final report in February next.

The Irish Examiner revealed the Government's refusal to publish the report had caused deep upset among the forum, causing one member to formally resign in protest. The group had worked on the report and its recommendations for almost one year with some members flying in from the US on a monthly basis for meetings.

In announcing the recommendations, Ms Zappone said she was amending the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill to "take account of issues raised by the Forum".

However, a forum member accused Ms Zappone of engaging in "a complete misrepresentation of what had been called for in the recommendations, pointing out that the forum was categoric in its view the planned legislation needed to be scrapped, not amended.

"We never asked for the Bill to be amended. We asked for it to be scrapped. It is a complete misrepresentation of what we called for. We said 'Kill the Bill'," she said.

The Irish Examiner asked the Department of Children and Youth Affairs why the Government had refused to publish the report and if Ms Zappone had any reaction to the upset expressed by forum members.

The DCYA said it had "nothing to add" to a press release previously released published and the "extensive media briefings" on the day the forum recommendations were released.

The report, runnings to almost 90 pages, is believed to be extremely critical of a number of agencies including Tusla which holds a large number of records in relation to former Mother and Baby Homes.

Just seven of the 19 members appointed to the forum by Ms Zappone turned up to the press event announcing the recommendations.

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