From top: Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone in the Dáil on June 1, 2017; UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Pablo de Greiff
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone made a statement in the Dáil on the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation.
Ms Zappone said she had appointed forensic archaeologist Niamh McCullagh, who carried out the preliminary excavations at the former Bon Secours mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway, to lead a team of international experts to advise the commission.
Ms Zappone said:
“I sometimes wonder, if I’m around in 2027 or 2037, what will they say, on Reeling In The Years about 2017. Will it be the year 2017, that the international media descended on Tuam as we, once again, declared our outrage at past deeds.
Or will it be a year where we faced up, womaned up and maned up and decided that we will do things better. This is a defining moment for us.”
Further to her previously announced idea of establishing some kind of a truth commission, Ms Zappone also said she would be inviting the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Pablo de Greiff, from Columbia, to Ireland.
“I am asking my Government colleagues to support me in inviting the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, reparation and guarantee of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, to visit Ireland.
Dr de Greiff has extensive experience and insights which I believe will help me as a Minister and us as a Government to promote truth, justice and reparation, as he has done with a wide range of other governments. He could help ensure we are taking the right approach in terms of our response into the future.”
On December 12, 2017, Ms Zappone told the Seanad:
“In addition, in recognition of Ireland’s absolute commitment to human rights, the Government has decided to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Mr. Pablo de Greiff, to visit Ireland. I will work with my colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, to arrange this invitation.”
On January 24, 2018, Ms Zappone, in a written answer to Sinn Féin TD Denise Mitchell, stated:
“…the Government has agreed to invite Mr. Pablo de Greiff, UN Special Rapporteur, to assist Ireland in our response to issues related to former Mother and Baby homes and I am working with my colleague the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to arrange this invitation.”
On February 13, 2018, Ms Zappone told the Dáil:
I have previously relayed my commitment to the House to inviting the UN special rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Mr. Pablo de Greiff, to come to Ireland. I believe he can assist us in our endeavours to establish the truth and advise us on how best to move forward and deal with this part of our history. Arrangements are at an advanced stage and I expect an invitation to be issued to Mr. de Greiff in the coming days.
Fintan Dunne writes:
Guess when Dr de Greiff reaches the end of his term as Special Rapporteur?
“Pablo de Greiff was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council… in 2012.
He was renewed in 2015 and will hold the position until May 2018.”
May 2018 is a mere week away!!
Previously: ‘Will It Be A Year Where We Womaned Up?’