Written answers

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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98. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if he will include the Westbank Orphanage in Greystones, County Wicklow, in the inquiry into the mother and baby homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44416/14]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Minister, Department of Health; Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy will be aware, I am consulting with a number of key stakeholders, including the Bethany Survivor's Campaign and Survivors of Protestant Children's Institutions whom I have met in recent days, in order to update the parties on the emerging issues and to seek their further views.

Requests to include a range of institutions, and concerns related to particular practices are being examined in our current deliberations. While I have not finalised my considerations on the scope of the Investigation, it is clear at this stage that at least some of the issues being raised in public debate are beyond the intended central focus on Mother and Baby Homes as debated in this House.

A key challenge in deciding on the scope of the investigation is to ensure that a realistic approach is taken so that the Commission is in a position to investigate these matters in a workable and effective manner. As recommended by the Inter-Departmental Report, our approach should have regard to the facts established through recent inquiries into related institutions, and the general experience gained in conducting similar investigations into matters of public importance. The House is only too well aware of previous Tribunals and Commissions that generated a great deal of expense and due to their protracted nature took much longer to arrive at conclusions than most centrally concerned or than this House would have wished.

Following the finalisation of the terms of reference it is my intention to bring these matters to Government as soon as possible thereafter.


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