Tuam survivor criticises officials attending Zappone bash days after cancelled meeting

Tuam survivor criticises officials attending Zappone bash days after cancelled meeting

Anna Corrigan, from the Tuam Babies Family Group, says she is disappointed that the meeting was cancelled when some officials attended a party days later. Picture: Damien Storan

Tuam survivors have criticised officials in the Department of Children for attending a party for former minister Katherine Zappone a week after cancelling a meeting to discuss their plight.

Minister Roderic O'Gorman's office cancelled a meeting with Tuam survivors on July 14 due to a Covid outbreak in his office. 

The minister had been expected to take a private visit to the Tuam site where he was due to meet survivors and relatives of the mother and baby home.

A week after the meeting was cancelled, the Department of Children secretary general Fergal Lynch and a number of senior officials attended an outdoor function for Ms Zappone at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin on July 21. 

Mr O'Gorman did not attend the party.

A spokesperson for the Department of Children said: "The Government has been advised by the Attorney General that regulations provide for organised outdoor events and gatherings of up to 200 people, including social, recreational, exercise, cultural, entertainment or community events. The event to which your query relates was not therefore in breach of the regulations. The department has no further comment on this matter."

A spokesman for Mr O'Gorman said a limited number of people were present in the office when the Covid-19 case was discovered. 

"In response to the incident, all appropriate measures were taken by the department to adhere to health and safety advice and a number of those present in the relevant part of the office received Covid tests," the spokesperson said.

"The meetings in Tuam were postponed as a result, as it was deemed inappropriate to travel while awaiting test results."

Anna Corrigan, from the Tuam Babies Family Group, says she is disappointed that the meeting was cancelled when some officials attended a party days later.

"If they can attend parties, they can meet with us," she said.

"We were only allowed to nominate five people to attend and we were quite angry as the notification was short notice, and most of us don't live in Tuam.

"We managed to organise someone from Mayo and someone to come from England and then it was cancelled.

"There are a lot of survivors, people would like to have a larger meeting if that was possible.

"You see these things happening, it's just wrong, we're supposed to be all [in] this together, but we're not."

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