— Kelly Ledoux (@mkledoux1) November 26, 2019
Further to a post this morning about today’s meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Skills…
During which survivors, lawyers, historians and archivists spoke against a bill which proposes to seal millions of abuse records from survivors and the public for at least 75 years…
Lawyer Cassie Roddy Mullineaux, who followed the proceedings, noted:
Eileen Molloy’s powerful opening statement: “I don’t think our personal information can be used as history in the future, it’s our history now, and should be made available to us while we’re still alive”.
Mary Ledato: “If we don’t confront our past we are condemned to repeat it”
Mary Ledato: “Survivors still live with shame and secrecy imposed on them. They need a process of healing and reconciliation.”
Maeve O’Rourke: “Without records, accountability is denied.”
Fred Logue: One thing is certain – the Retention of Records Bill will delay access to personal data and this will have a significant effect on survivors!
Maeve O’Rourke: “Everyone has a right to their personal data – unredacted!”
Mary Harney: “When I first held my birth certificate in my hand, I jumped up and down and said ‘I am someone, I am.. !'”
Maeve O’Rourke: “Redress means accountability, ideally in court, but also truth telling at a national level. The Right to Truth is not just an individual right but also a societal right. There must be a guarantee of non-repetition!”
Eileen Molloy: “I’m going to die before the 75 years are up – so will my children and grandchildren. Just tell me why you are doing this to me?”
Carmel McDonnell-Byrne: “I get the feeling I’ve been heard for the first time in my life, but I hope this doesn’t fall on deaf ears.”
After the meeting, the committee released the following statement:
“The Joint Committee on Education and Skills heard evidence this morning from wide range of witnesses – including perspectives from legal, historical and human rights backgrounds – on a Bill that would seal records of redress bodies for 75 years.
However, particularly poignant evidence given was from survivors who outlined, in a deeply moving way, the impact this Bill would have on them personally.
The Select Committee on Education and Skills was due to consider the Retention of Records Bill (2019) at a meeting next week.
But Deputies have now agreed to defer consideration of the Bill and are now seeking a response from the Minister for Education and Skills on concerns raised by survivors of institutions and legal experts about the legislation.
Chair of the Committee on Education and Skills, Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin said: “We had excellent engagement with survivors and legal experts on the proposed legislation at a meeting of the Joint Committee earlier today.
“We will be forwarding the Minister a summary of what we heard and we will be seeking a response from him addressing a number of the key issues raised.”
The Bill provides for records from the work of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Cica), the Residential Institutions Redress Board, and the Residential Institutions Redress Review Committee to be in the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) and sealed for a minimum of 75 years.