In regard to Deputy Catherine Murphy's comments on the Minister for Justice and Equality's visit to the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, I am sure it did not escape the Deputy's notice that yesterday was a significant day in terms of the appointment of Judge Murphy to the commission of inquiry into mother and baby homes. The Deputy may also have noted the publication of an extensive report based on the work of the interdepartmental committee on the history of mother and baby homes. In the period since his appointment, the then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Charles Flanagan, did considerable work to advance that, and I want to use this opportunity to thank him and his predecessor, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, for the significant progress that has been made on the issue in a relatively short period. Work is now ongoing on the terms of reference for that inquiry.
In regard to the Deputy's comments on the meetings in Geneva, it is recognised internationally this country has inherited a series of extraordinarily difficult legacy issues which have affected at least 50% of families in this country at some stage down the decade, and have affected women in particular. They have also affected children born as a consequence of relationships which in earlier decades were non-marital relationships and who, therefore, were given up for institutional care and, in many cases, for adoption or fostering out. When international organisations examine Ireland's legacy, it is important that they also recognise the progress that has been made by all parties in this House and by civil society in addressing a series of issues which are a legacy of an earlier period. I am proud to be a member of a Government that is currently implementing a redress scheme for the women who were in the Magdalen laundries. From the point of view of my Department, which is significantly involved in providing payments and income supports to the women who were in that situation, it is very satisfactory that work in this regard is proceeding apace.
In regard to the issues arising around fatal foetal abnormalities, the Deputy will be aware that some time ago the Government legislated successfully in regard to the X case. That is reflected in our legislation and is an issue that both parties in Government have addressed. In regard to fatal foetal abnormalities, I am on record as stating that I would like to see a situation where it is possible to address them.
As of yet we do not have agreement on that in the programme for Government. It is a personal position and I have been on public record in this regard over a long period.