Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries
139. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the extent to which he is confident that in the course of the mother and baby homes redress scheme, he can meet the requirements of all the victims in order to reassure all concerned that their position has been fully acknowledged and investigated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59732/21]
140. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the number, if any, of outstanding issues in respect of redress in the case of mother and baby homes; the extent to which he expects to address all such issues and to ensure equality in respect of redress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59733/21]
141. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the extent to which he accepts that the exclusion of any group affected by the mother and baby homes issue needs to be urgently and fairly resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59734/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 139, 140 and 141 together.
In providing an overall response grounded in a wide variety of differing needs, the Government considered what would be the most effective remedy for all survivors of Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions. I am confident that the wide-ranging Action Plan for Survivors and Former Residents of Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions is fully inclusive and responds to the diverse needs of all those who are affected by the complex legacy of Mother and Baby Institutions. The actions are designed to support survivors in a number of ways into the future, as well as ensuring that what happened in the institutions is never forgotten, or repeated.
The Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme is Action number 20 in the Action Plan, and sits as one element of the entire redress package of supports and measures set out in that Plan. Consultation with survivors has clearly shown that they wanted the Scheme to be non-adversarial, simple and with a low burden of proof. Following extensive and challenging deliberations, I concluded that providing a general payment based on time spent in an institution, with no requirement to bring forward any evidence of abuse or harm, was the best way to ensure that the Scheme causes no further trauma. This approach means that those who spent the longest time in these institutions, and therefore suffered most from the harsh institutional conditions, will receive the highest level of payment.
The proposals for the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme go well beyond the recommendations of the Commission of Investigation and also beyond the proposals of the Interdepartmental Group which was established to develop proposals for the Scheme. An estimated 34,000 people will benefit from the Scheme, at an approximate cost of €800m. Beyond this, the needs of all those who spent time in one of the institutions will be addressed in some way through the Government’s Action Plan. The Scheme should not be viewed in isolation from the Action Plan.
I have been given Government approval to bring forward legislative proposals on the basis of the Scheme as outlined and work has commenced in my Department on heads of the bill for this legislation. Through the legislative process we will have the opportunity to examine any issues or concerns that have been raised in relation to the Scheme.