Minister demands to know how Mother and Baby Homes Report was leaked

Roderic O'Gorman has written to survivors' networks to apologise for the manner in which the details of the report were made public.
Minister demands to know how Mother and Baby Homes Report was leaked

Children's minister Roderic O'Gorman said that he was "deeply angered" about how details of the report were made public.

The children's minister is demanding an investigation into how details of the Mother and Baby Homes Report were leaked, as survivors describe the Government's mishandling of the publication as distressing and hurtful.

The report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation will officially be published on Tuesday, and is set to reveal that up to 9,000 children died in the homes from the 1930s onwards, with one child in seven not surviving the institutions.

It will include 1,000 pages of survivor testimony and will run to 3,000 pages. The Commission has worked on the report for five years.

It is also understood that the Government will announce an interdepartmental group to explore a restorative justice programme, as well as legislation to protect the sites of the homes from redevelopment.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will make a full State apology to the women and children who suffered for decades.

A Government spokesperson confirmed that the Taoiseach will make the apology and that Mr Martin and children's minister Roderic O'Gorman will brief survivors on the contents of the report on Tuesday.

However, survivors were angered that they had not been made aware of the contents of the report before it was published in a Sunday newspaper on Sunday. 

Survivors said that seeing details being published in the newspaper before they had been briefed was "hurtful" and "distressing". Others said that the experience had been re-traumatising for them.

Mr O'Gorman said that he was "deeply angered" about how details of the report were made public.

He said: "I am deeply angered to see sensitive details of the Commission report leaked in a newspaper. 

It is completely unacceptable that the people affected by the report have found out elements in this way. I’m seeking an investigation of how these sensitive details came into the public domain and will be raising it with Government colleagues."

Sources said the minister had waited to brief survivors until early this week for fear that the report's contents would be leaked. He has written to survivors' networks to apologise for the manner in which the details of the report were made public.

However, the Opposition roundly criticised the Government's handling of the situation.

The Social Democrats spokesperson for children Jennifer Whitmore said: "Survivors were given clear assurances about how the release of the report would be handled. 

"Minister O'Gorman needs to set out how he will establish how the leak occurred."

Sinn Féin spokesperson Kathleen Funchion described the leak as "appalling and insensitive".

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