Thursday, 20 June 2019

Questions (189, 190, 191)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

189. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when the chair of the collaborative forum of former residents of mother and baby homes and related institutions will be replaced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25989/19]

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Catherine Connolly

Question:

190. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of vacancies on the collaborative forum of former residents of mother and baby homes and related institutions; when the vacancies will be filled; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25990/19]

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Catherine Connolly

Question:

191. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when the report of the collaborative forum of former residents of mother and baby homes and related institutions will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25991/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 to 191, inclusive, together.

Following the receipt of the Collaborative Forum's first report, I signalled the opportunity to take some time to reflect upon the learning from the process to date. In this way the mandate of the Forum can be refined to further enhance the State's engagement with former residents. The Forum itself also suggested a revisiting of these matters.

I am currently examining how best to conduct a focused interim evaluation which involves the Forum members and considers important issues relating to the Forum's composition and mandate.

Delivering its first report within 6 months was a significant achievement and reflected the strong commitment and dedication of Forum members to this task. It was understandable therefore that the former Chair and a small number of members signalled their intention to step down when the first report had been finalised and they have subsequently done so. I am actively considering a suitable appointments to these current vacancies to ensure the continuity of the process.

As the Deputy will be aware, Government Ministers regularly seeks legal advice from the Attorney General in the context of decisions on the publication of any report. Following its consideration of the Attorney's advices, the Government decided that the full report of the Collaborative Forum could not be published ahead of the Commission of Investigation's final report. Instead, as an initial step, I published the full set of recommendations made by the Forum in its report.

The Commission is due to deliver its final report by February 2020. At that time, I will reconsider publication of the Forum's report subject to any further advices of the Attorney General. I have sent a copy of the full report to the Commission of Investigation for its appropriate attention and consideration in the context of its statutory investigations.

The Government has committed to advancing consideration of the report and a comprehensive analysis of the recommendations by relevant Departments continues to be developed.