I understand the distress which development proposals associated with the Bessborough site have caused for those most centrally connected to this issue. I share their concerns in relation to the risks associated with this development. For these reasons, I made submissions to An Bord Pleanála and Cork City Council to encourage them to consider the interim and final reports of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, and the views expressed by former residents of this institution, when deciding on the planning applications for development at the site of this former institution. I understand that Cork City Council has in recent days refused to grant permission for part of the proposed development.
As the Deputy will be aware, I do not have any statutory powers under the Planning and Development Acts, and in responding to the specific details provided, it is also important to clarity that the State does not own this site.
Memorialisation is one of the eight themes encompassed within Strategic Action Plan which has been agreed by Government in response to the findings of the Commission of Investigation. I am open to engaging with all of my Government colleagues in advancing these measures as we work collectively to respond to the legacy of mother and baby homes and related institutions.