Public should contribute to Mother and Baby Home redress scheme, says senator

Senator Ronan Mullen denied he was trying to take the spotlight off the role of the Catholic church.
Public should contribute to Mother and Baby Home redress scheme, says senator

Senator Mullen said that while the Mother and Baby Home report had highlighted a “sad and sobering picture” of how women and children were failed by the State, wider society, religious orders and the church, there was also “a community and family dimension.” Picture: Collins

Independent Senator Ronan Mullen has called for a national voluntary collection to allow individuals and families to contribute to a redress package for survivors of Mother and Baby Homes because there was a community element to the issue.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Senator Mullen said that while the Mother and Baby Home report had highlighted a “sad and sobering picture” of how women and children were failed by the State, wider society, religious orders and the church, there was also “a community and family dimension”. 

"It was not a question of blame, but at a community level there were more involved than just the institutions," he said.

There wasn’t a family in the country that hadn’t a connection with some aspect of this story, including his own family, he said, “where good people failed to come up to the mark in terms of how they dealt with something in a way I wouldn't like to see happen today.” 

Senator Mullen denied he was trying to take the spotlight off the role of the Catholic church.

He said he was not trying to deflect but was trying to draw the public into a wider conversation “where we observe how things happened and why things happened, and we're unflinching in looking for the truth about it.” 

Senator Mullen denied he was trying to take the spotlight off the role of the Catholic church. Picture: Ray Ryan

Senator Mullen denied he was trying to take the spotlight off the role of the Catholic church. Picture: Ray Ryan

Doing that would mean understanding that there were economic and social factors at that time along with an “obsession with social respectability.” 

On the issue of survivors having access to their birth records, Senator Mullen said that it was important that they have such access, but he cautioned that the rights of people who were now old and to whom promises had been made in the past, should not be trampled upon.

There had to be a compassionate approach and it was not the case of the rights of birth parents being above those of adoptees. There had to be a humane approach, he said.

"It's not about your political agenda and it's not about my philosophical thoughts," he added.

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