Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries
214. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the details of the provisions that the full archive held by Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation is transferred into his possession by the end of February 2021; the way in which he plans to ensure that those affected have full access to both personal information and the archive of administrative files; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9252/21]
The Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation will stand dissolved in law on 28th February 2021 and is due to submit its archive of records to my Department by that date. Former residents of Mother and Baby Homes will be able to make a Subject Access Request (SAR) to the Department under the GDPR for access to their record.
My Department is working intensively to ensure that it is properly resourced to handle subject access requests from people who were resident in mother and baby homes when the Commission's database and records are transferred. In this regard, my Department has established a new Unit to look after this hugely important and significant volume of work.
Everyone has the right to make a request to access their own personal data and can make a subject access request to my Department in respect of their own personal information. In the context each individual access request, consideration must be given to the overarching principle that the release of personal data to a requestor must not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others. It is important to acknowledge that subject access requests may not necessarily provide all of the information that the requester believes is on the record. My Department is engaging with the Data Protection Commission and it intends to publish its policies and procedures as soon as possible.
215. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he has engaged in correspondence or meetings with the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation since he assumed office; if so, the details of when such correspondence and meetings took place; and his views on the refusal by the Commission to grant interviews to the media or to come before Oireachtas committees. [9281/21]
Since taking office at the end of last June, I have engaged in three formal meetings with the Commission of Investigation. The dates of these meeting were as follows:
- 27th July 2020
- 15th October 2020
- 13th November 2020
I have also corresponded with the Commission over this period in the context of the legislation enacted in October 2020 to protect its records; in relation to the receipt of its final report on the 30th October 2020; in relation to the matters raised by the Data Protection Commissioner; and to ensure the effective management of the transfer of its archive to my Department.
As an independent statutory investigation, it is a matter for the Commission itself to respond to any request for interview from the media or indeed any invitation from an Oireachtas Committee.