Mother and baby homes  report author invited before  committee 

Mother and baby homes  report author invited before  committee 

Statue of Our Lay Mary outside the Good Shepherd Catholic Church on the Ormeau Road in Belfast which shared the site with Magdalen Asylum ran by Roman Catholic Good Shepherd Sisters from 1867, with the Laundry closing in 1977. A report into the operation of institutions for women and babies in Northern Ireland is to be published later. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday January 25, 2021.The academic research on mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries was considered by Stormont ministers on Tuesday morning. See PA story ULSTER MotherBaby. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The authors of the Mother and Baby Homes report are to be invited to appear before the Oireachtas Children's Committee.

It's understood the committee agreed during a private meeting that the chair of the three-person Commission of Investigation, Judge Yvonne Murphy, will receive a letter from the committee to answer questions on the report, however, Justice Murphy is not required to do so.

Some senators and TDs did state their hesitancy to bringing in the report's author during the meeting, noting that the Commission of Investigation was independent of government and queried what practical outcome the justice's appearance in the committee would deliver.

The report has come under sustained criticism from survivors and politicians, both in government and opposition.

A second debate was held in the Seanad yesterday which was attended by Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman.

Fianna Fáil senator Lisa Chambers slammed the sections of the report that did not consider survivor's testimony as evidence, questioning whether the commission "wanted CCTV" of the incidents in order for survivors to be believed.

"I would reiterate my call that the commissioner was involved in preparing this report should take questions from survivors and the public and the media," she said.

They are not in isolation, they're there, they're publicly known, we know who they are. They were paid well for their work, and they were given ample time to complete their work and I don't think that the State received from them the level of workmanship that would have been expected in terms of that report.

Likewise, Senator Marie Sherlock added: "From my perspective, it is hard to put into words the sense of horror and shame reading some of the women's' testimonies and the report of the confidential committee.

"Reflected in the body of the report was that women were treated worse than animals."

Recommendation No 27

Ms Sherlock, along with a number of senators called on the Government to reject and amend recommendation No 27 whereby: "The Commission considers that women who entered Mother and Baby Homes after 1973 do not have a case for financial redress."

She added: "This is astounding. It is arbitrary. It ignores the social and economic context of the time. It is black and white. 

"I believe that all members in this chamber would acknowledge that we need to move away from the black and white time that is described so vividly in the report, hopefully to a time now where everybody needs to be considered."

An Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Mark Daly handed over the Chair to Senator Victor Boyhan for the debate, who grew up in a Mother and Baby Home.

"I assure him that his is not a little voice as he presides over the chamber," Mr Daly said. "As we discuss this report we are all reminded of the very real people and the very real stories contained within it."

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