SURVIVOR GROUPS have gathered outside Leinster House to demand that the recently announced Mother and Baby Homes reparation program meet the needs of survivors, describing it as a “travesty of justice”.
Many survivors and clinicians have criticized in recent days that people born in an institution but having spent less than six months have been excluded from the right to seek redress.
People stressed that it didn’t matter how long they were in an institution – whether it was a day or a year, they were always separated from their mothers, often against her will. Children were generally adopted, sometimes illegally; embedded; or sent to an industrial school.
Majella Connolly, an adoptee from St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home in Dublin, was among the protesters outside Leinster House this afternoon.
She said the first thing to give survivors would be to “give us our human rights: our right to identity, our birth certificates and our medical history – all uncensored”.
“You can trace the full story of the cheapest ground beef packages more easily than we can trace our own personal history. “
Majella Connolly, born in St Patrick’s MBH, says #MotherAndBabyHomes reparation system creates “a hierarchy of suffering” and must be changed. She also requests access to the records of survivors and all adopted persons. pic.twitter.com/ZSXEEH36Qu
– rla Ryan (@orlaryan) 23 November 2021
She said the reparations program announced by Minister Roderic O’Gorman attempted to divide survivors by creating a hierarchy of suffering “with all mothers getting something and most adoptees getting nothing”.
Connolly said the government reduced the suffering to the length of time spent in a mother-child home, ignoring “the long-term impact this has on mothers, adoptees and birth mothers.”
She urged O’Gorman to sit down with organizations representing survivors to “fix this problem.”
Anna Corrigan, whose mother had two babies at the Tuam mother-child house, described the reparation program as a “travesty of absolute justice”.
“We met five ministers and this is the best they can find, along with their officials.
How could anyone find this package? The maximum payment for 10 years and over is € 65,000. I don’t know anyone who has spent so much time with a mother and her baby. On average, women spend one to two years, maybe three. The children spent three to six years there… so no one will reach this ceiling of € 65,000 so regularly quoted in the newspapers.
Maria Arbuckle, who was sent to St Patrick’s when she got pregnant at 18, has come from England to attend today’s protest.
She said the repair is only a matter of time and money, saying “there is nothing to pay for a trauma”.
She said Northern Ireland had handled survivors or mother and baby houses “ten times better than the south had ever done”.
The NI executive accepted all of the recommendations made by a panel of experts last month, with a public inquiry announced to investigate mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries and workshops in the region.
Source: rla Ryan
Today’s protest precedes a Dáil debate on Sinn Fein TD Kathleen Funchion’s motion calling on the government to ensure the needs of survivors are met.
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Funchion said she is urging all TDs to support her private member’s bill that would include urgent consideration of issues survivors have identified in the program, such as time-based criteria, exclusion of children who have been embarked, access to the medical card improved and the lack of inclusion of certain institutions.
He also calls on the government to seek immediate and substantial recourse from religious orders and pharmaceutical companies to contribute to the reparations regime.
“The program is an insult to survivors and completely ignores their needs. It is not good enough. This government has failed survivors time and time again. It has to stop, ”Funchion said.
“This motion supports survivors and calls on the government to change the redress system to be fairer to them. The motion has the support of all opposition parties.
Tonight the TDs have a chance to put things right and show the survivors the respect they deserve.
With the report by Órla Ryan