Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (836)

John Lahart

Question:

836. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps she will take to ensure local authorities and other bodies co-operate with the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. [30641/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The Commission was established by Government in February 2015 to investigate concerns related to the institutional care of unmarried mothers and their babies during the period 1922 to 1998. The Commission is tasked with providing a full account of what happened to vulnerable women and children in these institutions. Following a request from the Commission, Government granted an extension to the time frame for the delivery of its final Report. The Commission is due to report in February 2020.

The Government is satisfied that this independent Commission has sufficient scope to examine the broad range of public concerns, and to make a determination on their relevance to the central issues in question, and where appropriate to make any recommendations to Government which the Commission deems necessary.

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 Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 provides an effective mechanism to investigate complex and sensitive matters of significant public concern. The Act gives the Commission robust powers to compel persons to produce information and answer questions, and I do not have any role or information in this regard. The precise approach to examination of evidence are matters for the Commission to decide and progress.