Government plans to appoint an independent expert to review the testimony of hundreds of mother and baby home survivors come “too late” to address the flawed commission of investigation.
The final report into 18 mother and baby and county homes has been widely criticised for not reflecting testimonies given by 550 survivors to the confidential committee, leaving survivors feeling "conned" and "tricked".
Adoption rights activist Noelle Brown, who was born in Bessborough, said she now felt “embarrassed” for being open and honest with the confidential committee, which proved to be a “pointless exercise”.
Ms Brown said it was not clear what a human rights observer would review, as transcripts were not available.
“They need to acknowledge that the investigation wasn’t done properly. Bringing in a human rights eye at this stage, it’s a bit late, it’s like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. This was very clearly a human rights issue from the very beginning,” she said.
The commission report should be set aside and redress should proceed without delay, she said.
Bessborough survivor Terri Harrison said the commission’s final report was more representative of a “social history” exercise and the need for human rights oversight was ignored when the commission was being established.
A human rights review of testimonies now, she said, would not wash with survivors: “You have to think of the people who have been waiting for years for help and support. They didn’t get it then and they are not getting it now”.
“It’s not so much that it is too late but it is too wrong. This should have been a criminal investigation,” she said.
Similar inquiries had been carried out in Australia, Africa, and Northern Ireland but in a more open, humane and respectful manner, she said, adding that survivors were not being listened to.
“They do not respect us. We are still subordinates, we’re still just females,” she said, adding that survivors want their testimonies put together and “some form of comfort” by way of redress, such as a Health Amendment Act card.