In accordance with section 9 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, it is essential to recognise that the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes is independent in the performance of its functions. The engagement with witnesses is a matter for the Commission and I do not have any role or information in this regard. These operational considerations are managed directly by the independent Commission. The Deputy may wish to contact the Commission directly to explore this matter further.
The legislative framework requires that evidence is given in private to facilitate fact finding while also protecting the rights of all individuals and groups to fair procedure. The Commission may hear all or part of the evidence of a witness in public if it is satisfied that it is in the interests of both the investigation and fair procedures to do so, or where the Commission agrees to the request of a witness to provide all or part of his or her evidence in public.
The Confidential Committee module of the Commission of Investigation provides an opportunity for persons who were formerly resident in the homes or who worked in these institutions, to provide personal accounts of their experiences in confidence and in private, as informally as is possible in the circumstances.
It is open to those who have given testimony at the Confidential Committee to contact the Commission to make arrangements to view the transcripts or listen to recordings of the testimony they have provided, if they so wish.
I want to acknowledge the courage it takes to provide testimony on such personal experiences, and the crucial importance of this information in informing the Commission’s work.