The Mother and Baby Homes Commission has yet to decide whether to ask for an extension of its remit to examine other institutions.

It comes as adoption groups have reiterated calls for a number of adoption agencies as well as a range of State and private maternity homes to be included in the investigation.

Under its terms of reference, the Mother and Baby Homes Commission will investigate how unmarried mothers and their babies were treated between 1922 and 1998 at 14 State-linked religious institutions.

The three-year inquiry — which has a €23.5m budget — will examine mother and baby homes, county homes, vaccine trials on children, and illegal adoptions where babies were sent abroad.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner, the Commission said it “not yet made any decision about recommending any extension of its terms of reference”.

St Patrick’s Guild has been commonly cited by campaigners as a glaring omission from the inquiry. The agency holds 13,500 adoption files — one quarter of all adoption files in the country.

Last year, the Irish Examiner revealed that the agency was excluded from the scope of the inquiry despite the Government being told in June 2013 by an Adoption Authority (AAI) delegation that the agency was aware of “several hundred” illegal birth registrations.

A note of a meeting between two nuns from the agency and representatives of the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, on February 3 last year also revealed that St Patrick’s Guild’s records contained “some illegal registrations” and that “full details are available on the majority of cases”.

The AAI also named St Rita’s private nursing home — also excluded from the inquiry — as a “huge source of illegal registrations”.

Claire McGettrick of the Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) and Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) said she expected the Commission to add to the current “shortlist” of institutions it is examining.

“The legislation makes an express provision for the Commission to add to the initial list and it has resourced the Commission well with a team of historians led by Prof Mary Daly, president of the Royal Irish Academy.”

“Historians realise there were many institutions involved in the Mother and Baby home sector in Ireland — JFMR and ARA have given a list to the Commission of some 170 institutions, agencies and individuals which our organisations and academic historians are also investigating,” she said.

Paul Redmond of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Homes said that it was a “national disgrace” that so many people were being excluded from the inquiry when so little effort is required to include everyone.

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