Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Deputy Kathleen Funchion, has welcomed the announcement of the publication of the Mother and Baby Homes report in the week beginning on January 11 and urged the government to engage with survivors to ensure their concerns are at the centre of the process.
The Minister made the announcement in response to a question by Teachta Funchion in the Dáil this morning.
Speaking today, Teachta Funchion said:
“I welcome that the Minister has now announced the publication of this important report.
“This will be significant day and I want to pay tribute to all the survivors and families who have been advocating for the truth to be heard. I want to commend their bravery in coming forward to share often deeply personal and distressing experiences.
“The Commission began its work over five years ago and I am mindful that during this period many of the survivors including mothers and children of the homes have since died.
“I support survivors’ calls that they must have advanced sight of the report and be provided with a hard copy, prior to it being released to the broader public.
“I am concerned that it is the intention of the Minister and Taoiseach to make public the report immediately after they deliver an online presentation to the survivors that merely outlines some of the key findings from the Report.
“Surely survivors and families having waited over five years for the Commission’s final report and having lived with a lifetime of injustice should be entitled to more time to consider the report in full?
“I am also alarmed by the Minister’s disclosure that the report is now 3,000 pages having told the Oireachtas Committee on the 3rd of November that the final report ran to 4,000 pages. The Minister needs to urgently clarify this matter.
“I also would urge the Minister to ensure that dedicated, tailored services providing emotional wellbeing supports are put in place immediately to meet the survivors’ needs. This must include all health services, social support and other related services as recommended by the Consultative Forum report in 2018.
“Many survivors are suffering significant financial hardship and this is causing difficulties accessing housing. Victims and survivors need access to dedicated case workers, welfare support, talking therapies, complementary therapies and other services.
“Earlier this week Sinn Féin’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA announced a package of support measures for survivors of historical institutional abuse to be delivered by the Victims and Survivors Service. This structured and comprehensive approach to health and well-being supports must be replicated by government.
“Survivors’ voices must continue to be at the heart of the Government’s approach to both the publication of the Commission’s report and in shaping the government response to its findings as has been the case in the north.
“I, and all my Sinn Féin colleagues, will continue to work constructively to hold the Government to account on this and ensure survivors get the answers they need and deserve.”