Amount of resignations over Mother and Baby Homes law 'the worst it's ever been', say Greens

Amount of resignations over Mother and Baby Homes law 'the worst it's ever been', say Greens

Bessboro, Cork. The plaque on the wall of the graveyard bears the following inscription 'In remembrance of all babies who died before or shortly after birth. I gathered you in all your freshness before a single breeze had damaged your purity'. Picture: Larry Cummins

Green Party representatives and party officers are considering their position amid a slew of member resignations over the Mother and Baby Homes legislation.

The controversial legislation passed in the Dáil on Thursday night would see the database of the mothers and children in the homes sent to Tusla.

Under a 2004 act, survivors' advocates say the remaining archives and survivor testimony will be sealed for 30 years.

Children's Minister and Green TD Roderic O'Gorman has overseen the passage of the bill and has borne the brunt of the criticism after refusing to add Opposition amendments or ask for an extension to consider the bill more thoroughly.

It's understood the Green Party head office was informed of a number of resignations in the hours following Thursday's vote.

One senior party source said that elected representatives as well as party officers are considering their positions.

"The party has lost a number of members already, but this is the worst it's ever been — and I've said that a lot this year.

"There's reaction from people who up to this point were diehard for government.

"It's not just the bill itself but how poorly it has been handled by the party."

It's understood there has been no central communications from party HQ to members, but Mr O'Gorman has contacted his local constituency members.

"As usual, Eamon (Ryan) has been completely missing in all of this," the source added.

"I think some TDs don't know what to say, Patrick Costello (TD) tweeted last night in support because Roderic was out there on his own, it's fucked.

"We're going to lose at least a councillor, people are livid.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see more people go over the next few days, they're talking seriously and making plans.

"It's the last straw, and it has been so upsetting for people.

"When we signed up for government there was a tremendous naivety that we wouldn't get blamed and that carried through up until now, we've been totally unprepared for the understandable and predictable outcome of this."

Mr O'Gorman said this morning he would consult with survivor groups and academic experts.

"I needed to do a better job at communicating what the Government was doing and engaging with survivors groups, and I know a lot of anxiety has been caused and I certainly deeply regret the fact that my failures to communicate properly caused that anxiety," he said.

"I should have done better in how I communicated what I was trying to achieve with this particular piece of legislation."

Another senior Green source said Mr O’Gorman feels that he has been “left holding the bag”.

“He knows he hasn’t handled it well and now he feels left on his own, the only person who has come to his defence has been Lisa Chambers, the Taoiseach hasn’t even said anything in support of him and he was in government when this law was passed,” the source said.

“You’d think the Taoiseach at least could say something in Roderic's defence.

“Eamon’s (Ryan) been silent and Catherine (Martin) has said nothing either.

“It’s not a coalition if you’re hanging each other out to dry.” 

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil senator Lisa Chambers said Sinn Féin "politically hijacked" the bill while defending the Government on the legislation.

In reply, Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion said the accusation was "actually quite disgusting to think that mothers themselves with young kids would come out and say anything like that.

"Nobody politicised this, everybody from the opposition was on the one side on this and very, very respectfully pleaded for the minister to do the right thing.

"Nobody was in any way political point-scoring.

"It says a lot about them to be honest."

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