Dáil debates

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Residential Institutions

5:25 pm

Photo of Martin BrowneMartin Browne (Tipperary, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

The Minister and I, and other Members, have met survivors. I assure him that whether they were there for one day, five months and 29 days or six months and two days, all these people were affected exactly the same by being separated from their families and decades of trying to get answers from the governments. This sliding scale effectively tells them that their forced separation and suffering is not worth any compensation.

I mentioned Teresa Collins. This is not about money for her, or for many of the other survivors to whom we all speak; it is about recognition. This redress scheme does not recognise the vast majority of people who have been caught up in this. That is where the problem is for Teresa Collins and those who were in Sean Ross Abbey and other places. The Minister is failing here and he needs to revisit this awful scheme. It is as simple as that. This issue has increased my concerns about what the future holds when it comes to the demands that have been made for scans in Sean Ross Abbey. Is it another case of the Government dragging people along for another while and letting them down again? That is what has happened here with the redress scheme. People have been dragged along, have not been listened to and there is no recognition for them. Suddenly, there is a bombshell that a big cohort of people who were caught up in these institutions are being excluded. As I said, it does not matter whether they were there for one day, five months and 29 days, or six months. It happened. It is time the Government, no matter who is in it, recognised that and gave these people the redress they deserve.

It is disappointing to hear that the Minister recently wrote to the religious orders requesting that they contribute to this scheme. There should not be a question in that regard. This might require legislation but they are responsible, as well as the State, for what these families and children have suffered. It is time to get the finger out. I have always had faith in the Minister and I thought we were moving forward but during the week I started to have my doubts again I think he can do the right thing. It is time he got in touch with these religious institutions and forced them to pay well into this redress scheme.


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