Mother and Baby Homes: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy Clare Daly on Wednesday, 15 May 2019:
That Dáil Éireann, having been made aware in recent times of the activities in Mother and Baby Homes that operated throughout Ireland in the twentieth century:
notes:
— the ill-treatment of the mothers and babies in these homes;
— the forced separation of single mothers and their babies from 1922 to 1998;
— the falsification of birth certificates and the subsequent mistreatment of survivors by the State; and
— that these practices were facilitated through official Government policy and by institutions, such as County Homes, public maternity hospitals and many adoption agencies;
further notes that:
— this has left a dark stain on our nation; and
— the State has refused the survivors justice to the present day, despite irrefutable and conclusive evidence being submitted by survivors and survivor groups; and
calls on the Government to:
— introduce, without delay, a Redress Scheme for the survivors of the Mother and Baby Homes, so as to provide some comfort for this ageing community; and
— set up a Commission of Investigation in relation to the very serious allegations emerging in recent times regarding the widespread and systematic falsification of birth certificates.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:
“acknowledges the lived experiences of Irish women and children who were in former mother and baby institutions in the last century and stands in solidarity with all former residents, and their loved ones;
recognises that the Government established the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) in February 2015, to provide an objective account of what happened to vulnerable women and children in these institutions during the period 1922 to 1998;
also acknowledges that the current statutory investigation was established following a motion passed by Dáil Éireann on 28th January, 2015, to approve the draft Government Order for the establishment of the Commission, including, its terms of reference;
also recognises that the Commission has a focused remit to examine areas of practice and procedure in the care, welfare, entry arrangements and exit pathways for the women and children who were residents of named institutions and a representative sample of County Homes;
endorses the important work to date by the independent statutory Commission, including the submission of five interim reports which reflect the sheer depth and complexity of the work being undertaken in comprehensively investigating these matters at a level never before possible; and
further acknowledges that many former residents and their families understand the scale of this statutory investigation, and recognises this unique opportunity to bring greater clarity and enhance national understanding of the most difficult experiences endured by vulnerable mothers and children;
further recognises that:
— a significant focus of the Commission’s work is to investigate institutional patterns of referral and relationships with intermediaries involved in the placement of children who did not remain with their parents, with scope to examine whether the child’s parentage was concealed, either by omission or by illegal means;
— when the Commission’s cross-referencing of records is complete it should provide as comprehensive an account as is possible of the pathways of the children concerned;
— the Commission has the legal authority to address crucial questions to the fullest extent possible in seeking to provide the answers to which former residents are entitled, and the scope to make any recommendations to the Government which the Commission deems appropriate;
— the interests of former residents, their families and the wider public, are best served by facilitating the Commission to conclude all relevant lines of inquiry, including the social history and Confidential Committee modules, in accordance with the legal framework under which it was established;
— the Commission has not made findings to date regarding abuse or neglect within these institutions;
— it is crucially important for the Oireachtas to avoid pre-empting or otherwise encroaching upon the independent Commission’s work;
— the Commission’s final report, which is due for completion by February 2020, is absolutely necessary to inform the State’s response to these matters; and
— the Government has committed to a comprehensive, timely and appropriate response to the full conclusions of the Commission, but it is not feasible to consider matters as complex as redress in advance of the Commission’s final report;
welcomes:
— the Government’s compassion for the dignity of the deceased and the legislative work being progressed to provide a statutory basis for the forensic-standard excavation, exhumation and identification of juvenile human remains discovered at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home at Tuam, Co. Galway;
— the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs’ efforts to be open and transparent regarding the discovery of illegal birth registrations, evidenced by the decision that Tusla would make contact with all those affected by illegal registrations discovered in the St Patrick’s Guild files;
— the sensitivity being exercised in contacting those affected, the social work and counselling assistance that is in place to help; and
— the leadership of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in directing that a review of a sample of files be undertaken, overseen by an independent reviewer, to ascertain whether any similar evidence of illegal birth registrations is evident on files of other bodies involved in adoption; and
further again recognises and affirms:
— the resilience and agency of former residents, their families and supporters in seeking justice and truth in relation to these events and their experiences;
— the new and innovative approaches by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to engagement with former residents and their families, in particular through the establishment of the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes, which has facilitated former residents to identify, discuss and prioritise the issues of concern to them and their families;
— that former residents are equal stakeholders in this participant-centred work, which the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs believes can have a lasting and positive impact; and
— the coordinated approach by Government to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the Collaborative Forum’s published recommendations, together with a specific process and timeline for developing a package of health and well-being supports and a series of initial measures, including:
— the development of a programme of memorialisation;
— the commissioning of research on language and terminology; and
— continued action to improve access to birth information through reforms of adoption legislation.”

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to the motion on mother and child homes. On Wednesday, 15 May 2019, on the question that the amendment to the motion be agreed to, a division was claimed and, in accordance with Standing Order 70(2), that division must be taken now.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 37; Níl, 61; Staon, 0.

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Curran, John.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Lawless, James.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanley, Brian.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seán Kyne and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Clare Daly and Catherine Connolly.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 2:

To delete all words after "further notes that" and substitute the following:

"— the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) was established by the previous Government in 2015, in order to fully investigate and report upon practices within Mother and Baby Homes;

— the Commission of Investigation was due to make its final report on its findings in February 2018, a date which has twice been delayed in order to permit the Commission of Investigation to complete its investigation;

— the terms of reference of the Commission of Investigation state that the Commission may 'include in its reports any recommendation that it considers appropriate';

— the Commission of Investigation is required to investigate and cross-reference records regarding the paths through which mothers and children exited, and in the case of mothers, entered, these institutions; and

— a considerable number of Mother and Baby Home survivors are in their advanced years, and they are understandably keen that the report of the Commission of Investigation be published as soon as possible; and

calls on the Government to:

— immediately provide counselling and other mental health services to survivors of Mother and Baby Homes, in order to support them at this remarkably difficult time; and

— ensure that the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes is provided with the resources needed to promptly complete its final report and release it into the public domain."

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 33; Staon, 0.

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Curran, John.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Shortall, Róisín.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Michael Moynihan and Shane Cassells; Níl, Deputies Clare Daly and Denise Mitchell.
Amendment declared carried.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Sitting suspended at 2.10 p.m. and resumed at 2.50 p.m.