Voices of Mother and Baby Home survivors must be heard
Labour spokesperson on children Seán Sherlock has today (Monday 29th August) strongly criticised Government plans to abandon an independent review of mother and baby home testimony and said that the voices of survivors must be heard.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“It is appalling that the government can dismiss the concerns raised in the testimonies recorded by home and baby home survivors. This issue would not have arisen if people felt their narratives, stories and histories were adequately and properly reflected in the report.”
“The damage done by inaccurately reflecting the trauma of people is so great that we have now reached the point where the Dáil called for an extension to the Commission’s remit to deal with the matter in February 2021. Someone, somewhere made a hames of this and the buck now stops with the Minister. Short of the commission being reconstituted, the responsibility on him is to create a process that will give justice to and correct the narrative of those who feel rightly aggrieved by the fact that their stories were not adequately reflected in the final report. A great injury has been done to them.
The Minister stated in a debate in February 2021:
“In addition to all the steps I have outlined, I remain committed to considering other options to support survivors in sharing their stories and vindicating their lived experience, including through enabling witnesses to submit their stories afresh to form part of the planned national memorial and records centre. It must be remembered that while 550 people appeared before the confidential committee, many people have contacted my Department and spoken about their experiences for the first time since the publication of the commission’s report. The commission’s report and the Government’s response, including the State apology by An Taoiseach, have been significant in giving them the courage to come forward for the first time. In future, many of these people and others who did not appear before the confidential committee may wish to tell their stories and participate in the survivor centred process which must underpin all the Government’s actions.”
Sherlock added: “We cannot simply outsource the government’s responsibility to this planned centre in Dublin alone. The Report must be independently verified and reviewed. Anything less from this government is shameful.”