Review of mother and baby homes testimony scrapped for legal reasons

Review of mother and baby homes testimony scrapped for legal reasons

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman, also denies that a draft memo had been prepared in June 2021 to scrap review plans. Picture: Maxwells/PA Wire

An independent review of mother and baby home testimony was scrapped by the Government because of “significant legal difficulties” that would not allow for any alteration to the findings of the commission.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman also warned that repudiating the Mother and Baby Home Commission report would have “huge consequences”, as it would set a precedent.

Campaigners and survivors have been calling on the Government to reject the final report of the commission since its publication in January 2021, claiming it does not reflect the lived experiences of many.

Mr O’Gorman told the Oireachtas children’s committee that a review of evidence given to the confidential committee was scrapped because “significant legal complexities would arise in seeking to facilitate an external review of accounts provided privately and in confidence within the robust legal framework of a commission of investigation.” He added:

 Government cannot, via a non-statutory process, retrospectively alter or interrogate the independent commission’s findings or methodology. We must be upfront in relation to such complexities.

Under questioning from Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns, Mr O’Gorman denied a draft memo had been prepared in June 2021 before the plan was abandoned.

Documents received by the Irish Examiner under the Freedom of Information Act show on June 14, 2021, an email thread was started between “Advisor, Sec Gen and PO re draft outline of proposed Memo for Government”. 

This thread was described as “an early draft of a document created for the purpose of enabling the Minister to bring proposals to Government for consideration”.

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