Govt to publish report on Mother and Baby Homes

The fifth interim report on Mother and Baby Homes is expected to focus on burial arrangements for the women and children who died in the institutions.

The report from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission was brought to Cabinet by Children's Minister Katherine Zappone yesterday and is to be published later today.

The commission has been investigating 14 mother and baby homes as well as four 'county homes' which were in operation between the years 1922 and 1998.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has said: "Out of courtesy and consideration to former residents, Minister Zappone wishes to inform representative groups and interested parties of these developments before making any public announcement".

Minister Zappone will issue a statement once all interested parties are informed.

The Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance has already issued an update.

It said: "Survivors over a period of some three years have outlined issues of primary concern being in relation to their health and well-being given their early life experiences and how such experiences impact in the present.

"We are at pains to point out that there is nothing 'historical' about this issues that impact; in some situations as our survivors become older they, like many within that age category, reflect back to their childhood and are often re-traumatised when recalling abuses and neglect.

"A dedicated counselling service for survivors of such Institutions is therefore much needed.

"With regard to terminology, we request at the outset that survivors are treated with the utmost respect - therefore, the term 'resident' or 'former resident' is inapplicable.

"Even to the point where they left the Institution at the tender age of four and a half, or slightly older, they were again dependent on those who accommodated them in their 'boarding out' for their primary and secondary needs.

"It is also fair to say that survival is the correct term given that we know that up to #796 are recorded as having perished in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

"The medical issues that continue to impact on our survivor group were relayed to the Collaborative Forum and we are delighted those are included; and would reiterate the absolute necessity for medical treatments - full medical card and fast-tracking through the system.

"Survivors do not have full access to their files, some indeed, do not have details of parentage - mother or father - and with no access to medical files; therefore they are at a distinct disadvantage within a medical setting when they present with life-threatening illnesses which have a hereditary influence.

"Time, again is of the essence in this regard - a number of our survivors are aged 80-plus; some are in their 70s, many are just finding their voice and courage to speak for the first time."

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