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Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Dáil Éireann Debate, Friday - 3 December 2021

Friday, 3 December 2021

Questions (4)

Bríd Smith


4. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he will make the changes sought by survivors, to the Mother and Baby Homes Redress scheme to include all survivors within the scheme with no minimum time provisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59477/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I am very conscious of the concerns raised by survivors in relation to the parameters of the Payment Scheme for former residents of mother and baby institutions.  I acknowledge that there is dissatisfaction about the qualifying period of six months for those who were in these institutions as children. 

We will of course be able to discuss the details of the proposed scheme further in this House when the legislation comes before us for debate. There will also be further opportunities to examine any other issues or concerns that have been raised in relation to the Scheme. 

I would note that, in consultations with  children who spent short periods of time in Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions, the overwhelming priority need which has been expressed to me is access to birth information and records.

A lack of information about their origins is deeply troubling to many survivors and the remedy to address this is making sure that they have access to this information. With this in mind, I have prioritised work on legislation that is going to deliver that information for the first time, in the form of the Birth Information and Tracing Bill. 

I would also note that the proposals I have announced for a payment scheme go a good deal further than either the recommendations of the Commission, or those of the Inter Departmental Group that was established to consider a suitable scheme.  The Commission’s recommendations would have applied to just 6,500 former residents, at a cost of €400m, and those of the Inter-Departmental Group would have benefited 19,000 with an estimated budget of €675m.  The scheme I announced extended to some 34,000 people at a total cost of some €800m. 

It is also important to emphasise that the scheme I announced is just one element of the Government’s response to the country’s complex legacy of Mother and Baby Institutions.  The House will be aware that the Government also approved a significant and broader Action Plan for Survivors and Former Residents of Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions.  

This Plan is inclusive and responds to the diverse needs and priority concerns of all concerned. The actions are designed to support survivors in a number of ways and to contribute to healing and future wellbeing.

Questions Nos. 5 and 6 answered orally.