Written answers

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Commission of Inquiry

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Sinn Fein)
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139. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs his plans to include the Westbank Home in the terms of reference for the commission of inquiry into mother and baby homes. [46527/14]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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The Government has undertaken to establish a statutory Commission of Investigation into matters relating to Mother and Baby Homes in accordance with the Motion passed by the Dáil on the 11th June. Considerable progress has been achieved since this date, including the publication of the Inter-Departmental Group’s Report, the announcement that Judge Yvonne Murphy will chair the Commission and an inclusive consultation process with stakeholders. The Government has also publicly confirmed that the intended scope of this investigation will go beyond the home operated by the Sisters of Bon Secours in Tuam, Co. Galway and these announcements have been widely welcomed.

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 weeks, 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.

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.

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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