The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes has issued five interim reports to date, all of which I have published.
It is important to acknowledge that the terms of reference for the Commission envisage multiple lines of inquiry on complex issues relating to a number of quite different institutions over a period of more than three quarters of a century.
The Commission submitted its Fourth Interim Report in December of last year. In it the Commission advised that it would not be able to issue its final report within the previously agreed time frame, and it requested an extension of one year to allow it to complete its work in full.
The Government has agreed to this extension request and the Commission is now due to complete its work by February 2020.
In my view the public interest, and most importantly the interest of former residents, is best served by facilitating the Commission to conduct the comprehensive analysis required to make accurate and robust findings on the extensive range of sensitive issues before it.
The Commission is of course, independent in its work, and I am careful not to interfere in any way with its progress. I share the wish of all interested parties to see the Commission concluding its work by the agreed deadline of February next.