Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (598, 605, 606, 608, 609)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

598. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if he will initiate an investigation into the circumstances of the death and burial of an estimated 800 children, who had been residents of the Tuam mother and children home run by the Bon Secours order; if he will make funding available from his Department in order to raise a suitable memorial over the site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24093/14]

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Micheál Martin

Question:

605. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if he or his Department received a report from Adoption Rights Now outlining concerns regarding adoption in Ireland since 1922 and about high mortality rates amongst infants in particular institutions; the actions that have been taken since he received the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24397/14]

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Michael P. Kitt

Question:

606. Deputy Michael P. Kitt asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the action he will take and the role his Department will play in probing the deaths of children in the mother and children home in Tuam, County Galway and in other mother and baby homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24511/14]

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Dominic Hannigan

Question:

608. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs his plans regarding the situation of the discovery of the deaths of children that has been uncovered in the mother and baby home in Tuam, County Galway; when his Department learned of the number of deaths of children in the mother and baby home in Tuam; if this home received State funding, if so, the amount in each year it received funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24792/14]

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Dominic Hannigan

Question:

609. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs his plans to increase the number of files that can be made available to mothers whose children were in mother and baby homes; his plans to increase the number of files about the mothers, fathers and families of adults who were in mother and baby homes; if any discussions have taken place with the Health Service Executive and any religious organisations to make this happen; if so, which religious organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24798/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 598, 605, 606, 608 and 609 together.

The revelations in Tuam, Co Galway have brought to the fore the situation in other Mother and Baby Homes throughout the country. The practices in Mother and Baby homes have to date not featured prominently in the various reviews and investigations which have dealt with many of the past abuses which were inflicted on vulnerable citizens, many of them women and children.

It is fully recognised by me and my Government colleagues that we need to establish the truth. As has been announced, active consideration is being given to the best means of addressing the harrowing details emerging regarding the children who died many years ago in Mother and Baby Homes and the many questions raised regarding these deaths.

We will properly review these issues and we will not confine this review to Tuam.

My colleagues and I have tasked officials from key Government Departments with scoping these issues so that Government can make decisions on the precise content, format and method of organising this review. Relevant Government Departments have met and are working together in preparation for the Government’s early consideration and determination of the best course of action.

The cross-departmental initiative underway will examine these matters and report to Government on how they might be addressed. Departments involved include the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Health, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Social and Family Affairs and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Amongst the decisions to be made by Government in finalising arrangements as part of its overall deliberations on the format and conduct of the review will be the assignment of lead responsibility for implementation.

Such scoping work is essential if fully informed decisions are to be made and matters are to be dealt with effectively. This is the experience in effectively initiating successful review processes in recent years. The work will proceed speedily and promptly. It will consider all of the issues which have arisen and the particular factors which the review will need to take into account including, for example, the passage of time. Government will be kept up to date and expects to have the product of this consideration before the end of the month.

I will provide a further update to the Deputy in the coming days.