Homes inquiry must include all institutions

Given that the Government has committed to consulting a wide range of opinion regarding the scope of the Commission of Investigation into mother-and-baby homes, I would like to issue a plea that the foremost issue to be decided should be which institutions are included.

Homes inquiry must include all institutions

It seems very clear that the only acceptable answer is all institutions must be included. The Schedule of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 excluded many homes. This must be the occasion when this huge injustice is rectified.

Mr Flanagan is on record as stating “that if people were transferred from mother-and-baby homes to Magdalene Laundries that should also be examined”. This worthy intention must extend to all other institutions. It is well recorded that babies were transferred from the Bethany home to the Mayil and Westbank institutions in Greystones, Co Wicklow.

Irrespective of whether the institutions were of a Catholic or Protestant ethos, all of us were abused children. I was born in St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork. As a baby, I was put into the Mayil and Westbank institutions. Many of my fellow survivors from these two institutions wish to be given the opportunity to tell the State of the very harsh environment we endured there and the terrible physical assaults on many of us. There was sexual abuse committed by members of the home community and by visitors. As survivors, we want to be heard by the Government. We want Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan to be interested in what happened to us while we were in the care of the State.

I have had the privilege of meeting survivors from different communities to my own, but in common, we have all suffered abuse, and our voices have been ignored, and I want all of us to be acknowledged.

The inquiry would be a failure before it starts if any institution is excluded. If Mr Flanagan allows this to happen, as survivors, it would mean we are abused all over again.

Victor Stevenson

Rathmore Avenue

Bangor

Co Down

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