Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns asked Taoiseach Micheál Martin if he would observe the ‘legal obligation’ to hold inquests into deaths at Mother and baby Homes.
Deputy Cairns said:
“Under the Coroners Act, it is the duty of a coroner to hold an inquest when a body is found in his or her district and when a person dies in State custody or detention.
Given that the mother and baby homes commission has reported on mass disappeared infants’ and children’s remains in unmarked graves, there is a legal obligation for inquests to be carried out for each deceased individual.
We know this relates to a large number of coroners in every relevant district and would be unprecedented in the use of resources. There is a legal obligation, however. Will the Taoiseach ensure that coroners carry out their duty to ensure that survivors get justice?“
Taoiseach Micheál Martin replied:
“I will make further inquiries on this. There are clearly legal obligations but that in itself is an enormous challenge going back to the early decades of the State from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The 1940s in particular saw an appallingly high infant mortality rate in mother and baby homes. The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is developing a broad base response to the commission’s report. How to deal with this will form part of it.”
Yesterday: ‘Gaslighting Survivors’