The grounds of the former Bon Secours mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway; Galway West independent TD Catherine Connolly
You may recall how, during Leaders’ Questions on March 8, Independent TD Catherine Connolly, of Galway West, asked about a second interim report from the Commission into Mother and Baby Homes which was given to the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone last September.
This interim report was to identify any matters that the commission felt warranted further investigation as part of the commission’s work.
Ms Connolly asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny:
“I’m asking you now to confirm, why it hasn’t been published? Eight months later? What’s in it that’s so frightening? What’s in it that prevents it being published?”
Further to this…
Fiach Kelly, in The Irish Times, reports this morning that the indemnity agreement signed in 2002 between the then Minister for Education Michael Woods and 18 religious congregations – which served to cap the orders’ liability – may be extended to include children abused in mother and baby homes.
Just recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General found that, as of the end of 2015, the congregations had paid just 13% of the total compensation bill which, at that point, amounted to €1.5billion.
Mr Kelly writes:
The existing redress scheme for victims of residential child abuse could be reopened to cover those abused as children in mother and baby homes, an unpublished report to the Government has recommended.
The proposal is contained in the second interim report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, The Irish Times has learned. It has caused alarm in Government circles, due to the cost of the existing scheme.
It says the redress scheme established in 2002 could be used again to provide compensation for those who were abused as children in mother and baby homes.
…Ms Zappone has been repeatedly pressed in the Dáil for the reason for the delay in publishing the second interim report, which she received last autumn.
A briefing on it was given to Cabinet in the autumn, but a number of Ministers could not remember a redress scheme being discussed. Well-informed sources said the delay in its publication was due to the controversial nature of the proposed form of redress.
One source suggested that it may never be published if there had not been public outcry over the commission’s confirmation last month of the discovery of the remains of babies and infants at the site of a former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway. However it is now expected to be published next week.
Previously: ‘What’s In It That’s So Frightening?’