Govt could have refused request for extra time for Mother and Baby Commission

Govt could have refused request for extra time for Mother and Baby Commission

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has said that the Government could have refused a request from the Commission investigating Mother and Baby homes to extend its deadline to deliver its final report.

However, they did not do so as it was felt that a comprehensive analysis was required and if additional time was necessary to do so then the Commission should be given the extra time.

She told RTE’s News at One that she appreciated the distress such a delay will cause to the survivors of the Mother and Baby homes, but, having met with Judge Yvonne Murphy who heads the Commission, it was felt this was the most appropriate way.

Ms Zappone also revealed that the Commission is to report in March on burial arrangements at what it calls "major institutions".

The Cabinet has now given the Commission until February next year to complete its report on a sample of eighteen institutions including Tuam where death records of 796 children have been found and where the commission has already discovered a substantial number of human remains.

An interim report in March will offer a comprehensive analysis of what happened in terms of burials.

Because of the new information presented recently the Commission plans to conduct geophysical surveys on the burial grounds associated with the former Sean Ross Abbey institution in Co Tipperary as part of its examination of burial arrangements at this location.

When asked about the inclusion of Bethany House residents, Ms Zappone said that the Government had decided to wait until it received final reports before making any decision.

Last year the Commission said it could not see why residents of the Bethany Home were excluded from the State's 2002 redress scheme.

Bethany survivors have alleged they are being discriminated against on religious grounds - a charge successive governments have rejected.

Ms Zappone said there are multiple layers of inquiry being conducted over a number of institutions. The findings of the Commission will be laid before Government before individual redress schemes are decided, she added.

The Commission is independent from Government, said the Minister.

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