'No need to extend mother and baby homes commission'

The investigation expires on Sunday, despite calls from survivors and the opposition to allow for an extension in order for some survivors to take a judicial review
'No need to extend mother and baby homes commission'

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman: "No need to extend the commission since data was retrieved."

The Minister for Children says there is no need to extend the Mother and Baby Homes Commission since missing data has been retrieved.

The Commission of Investigation will expire this Sunday, despite calls from survivors and the opposition to allow for an extension in order for some survivors to take a judicial review against the commission's findings.

Many survivors have taken issue with the commission's report in relation to its findings over forced adoption and physical and mental abuse, while others say they were not told their evidence would be destroyed when the report was completed.

A judicial review cannot be taken if the commission no longer exists.

The Commission said earlier this week that they retrieved "emergency tapes", which they had deleted in July to much public outcry.

They transferred 549 audio files and a sample of those files are audible, according to the government.

"There's a significant level of confidence that we have preserved and retained, this really important data that's really valuable to survivors.

"I don't see how extending the commission would have made any difference, now the data has been retrieved."

"People can avail of their legal rights if they wish.

"The whole idea behind the Commission of Investigation is to allow a matter of national importance to be thoroughly investigated in an independent fashion and I think it would be surprising to see a court substitute its own judgement for that of an independent commission investigation that had taken five years to look at a particular issue, but people have the right of course."

The Data Protection Commissioner says that there is a risk involved, with the files from the Commission being transferred to the Department of Children in the coming weeks, however, the Government says it has worked to mitigate any concerns.

"In order to mitigate the risk, we have established a new unit in our departments solely based around the management of the commission.

"We hired some expert staff, an archivist, and GDPR experts specifically for this particular unit."

The department will present a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).

"We're very aware of the scale of responsibility, under a statutory obligation within the Commission of Investigation Act that it has to transfer to our department, and we're very aware of the GDPR responsibilities, particularly since the Attorney General statement in October last year  that GDPR does apply to this archive which gives our department the opportunity to answer, subject to access requests from survivors and hopefully, provide them valuable personal information about themselves."

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