“It’s Really Important That We Don’t Fail These Survivors Again”

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From top: Jennifer Whitmore TD and Taniaste Leo Varadkar

This afternoon.

The Dáil at the Convention Centre, Dublin.

Social Democrat TD Jennifer Whitmore raised the destruction of testimonies given by survivors to the Mother and Baby Commission of Investigation. Witness testimony was quickly erased without detailed transcripts being made.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“Tánaiste, 550 survivors gave their testimony as part of the mother and baby homes commission. Those recordings were never fully transcribed ad they have since been destroyed. This is despite assurances from the minister in October that survivors would be able to access their own story.

“And also a clause in the 2004 Commission of Investigation Act that the commission is required to retain all evidence it receives.

“It’s been reported that the DPC [Data Protection Commission] has contacted the commission regarding the destruction of these files. However the commission is due to be dissolved on the 28th of February which is only a few weeks away. I think it’s really important that we don’t fail these survivors again, Tánaiste.

So I would ask will the Government immediately extend the term of the commission to enable for a full investigation of the destruction of these files and to enable the recovery of any information.”

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar Leo Varadkar replied:

“Thanks, deputy. I only heard about that the other day and was quite surprised to hear it, quite frankly. But it is something that I known the Minister for Children is now aware of and it’ll be for him, as to whether or not it makes sense to further extend the term of the commission.

“I think it is important to say again that the Mother and Baby Home Commission is independent of government. It was established by the Oireachtas. It’s not controlled by the Government, or the creature of Government. Commissions, by their very nature, just like tribunals, are independent bodies.

“And I think perhaps one of the flaws in the process is an independent body, like a commission, can spend five years hearing evidence, examining evidence and then makes its report but then is not there to explain it.

“And you’re there, as a Government minister, left trying to explain a report that you had no role in actually drawing it up. I don’t blame the commission for that in any way but I think if we’re going to do another inquiry on another similar issue, we [inaudible] with a better way to do it.”

Previously: Mother and baby homes: Audio recordings of personal interviews have been destroyed (Irish Examiner)

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5 thoughts on ““It’s Really Important That We Don’t Fail These Survivors Again”

  1. H

    Farcical, are they really all that incompetent or is someone somewhere going to extreme lengths to hide something?

  2. Bebe

    Its a disgrace..
    And what’s more they know it. And they don’t really care.

    On October 13th the Minister himself wrote on twitter “To be clear, the final report will reproduce the anonymised testimony of each individual who appeared before it. People will be able to access and recognise their own story told in their own words”
    Noelle Browne saw her words were changed and reflected that she the approach was not as promised survivor-centred, She explained that ‘testimonies have changed and they were altered’
    She’s one of the few to have got a copy of her transcript – the only one I know who has done so to date.
    CB Centre(DearDaughterCB) on twitter directed us to compare and contrast their work practices:
    “Compare & contrast fair & legal methodologies of voluntary pro-bono work of #Clann with #survivors compared to expensive 11m euros work of Commissioners of Irish #MotherandBabyHomesReport #MBHCOI _ evident lack of value of tax payers money”

  3. gringo

    This blatant rewriting of history is a reminder of the power the church still wields in this state. The religious orders are ruthless when it comes to protecting the property and cash they have stashed away.

  4. Jon

    Pretty sure GlaxoSmithKline have information regarding their ‘ trials ‘ in mother and baby homes they would prefer stayed shtum .There were an awful lot of remains found .

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