Mother-and-baby home report ‘a limited interpretation’

The overwhelming reaction to the Department of Justice’s intergovernmental report on mother-and-baby homes was that it was too limited and would undermine the thoroughness of any subsequent inquiry.

Many of the groups also expressed disappointment that Judge Yvonne Murphy was chosen rather than an international expert.

Adoption Rights Alliance described the report as “coming from the point of view of protecting the State rather than getting at the underlying truth of what happened”.

“This is more basic fact finding rather than truth finding mission. Including a limited number of institutions and leaving out a whole raft of other institutions and adoption issues that are all linked to the mother and baby homes shows a failure to grasp the bigger picture here. We believe no effort is being made to establish accountability,” said Claire Mc Gettrick.

Bethany Home Survivors were pleased to see Bethany Home included. But they had also wanted other institutions such as the Westbank Orphanage in Greystones, Co Wicklow and the Church of Ireland Magdalene Home on Leeson Street included.

“This report is giving a limited interpretation of what happened. There are orphanages and homes linked to Bethany that need to be investigated,” said Niall Meehan.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors expressed mixed views about the choice of Judge Yvonne Murphy to head the inquiry.

“While Judge Murphy did a commendable job chairing the Murphy Commission into child sex abuse, the coalition is aware of concerns by symphysiotomy survivors regarding the redress scheme which Judge Murphy was involved in overseeing,” said Paul Redmond.

“The fact that only registered births are used to calculate figures in the nine M&B homes instead of the numbers of expectant mothers also seriously downplays the numbers involved. Additionally, the issue of illegal adoptions has not been mentioned.”

The coalition expressed concern on the lack of debate on the appointment of Judge Murphy.

“This is of particular concern given the criticism of the Irish Government before the UN yesterday. The committee’s chair Sir Nigel Rodley expressed surprise and exasperation at the myriad of rights abuses that the State has failed to properly investigate. He also criticised the State’s consistent failure to make truth finding and accountability central to the redress provided to victims,” said legal advisor Mairead Healy.

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