Dáil debates

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Mother and Baby Institutions: Statements


5:00 pm

Photo of Paul DonnellyPaul Donnelly (Dublin West, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Anybody who has seen any of the debates or has had contact with people affected will know how desperately hurt people have been over this. I know it is extremely difficult to come up with something that will address all the issues but we need to try. They have asked us to ask the Minister some questions about the proposed scheme. We have all received emails on them in recent days. Some of the main issues people have raised have already been mentioned on Tuesday and were covered in the Minister's speech.

It is wrong to have a payments scheme that excludes people who, as infants, spent less than six months in a mother and baby institution or a county home. I have listened to people on the radio who have said even though they were in a particular place for less than six months, this has affected them for their entire lives. It is deeply hurtful to exclude them because they were there for less than six months and they feel that they are not being acknowledged.

They believe the recommendations and views survivors shared through the consultation process conducted by OAK Consulting have been largely ignored. The boarded-out children have been completely excluded from the payments scheme and enhanced medical card. As many people have said, the scheme has created a hierarchy of suffering and excludes anyone who was the survivor of a mother and baby institution or county home not listed in Appendix A or Appendix B.

Like everybody else, I got an email from the Clann Project. It is important that their voices are continually heard on this. They are the experts on their lives and their experiences. They state that the records are of paramount importance to adopted people. Mothers, relatives and others were affected by the gross and systematic human rights abuses perpetrated in Ireland's institutional and family separation system. As I said in the previous debate, I know from personal experience how important it is for people to be acknowledged. The rights to your life, your story and your experience is of critical importance. It is not just the piece of paper. Somebody speaking on the radio said when they get their birth certificate, they get a different birth certificate from everybody else, which is wrong and needs to be changed.


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