Monday 22 December 2014

Terms of reference for inquiry into mother and baby homes won't be ready until autumn - Children's Minister James Reilly

Eilish O’Regan, Health Correspondent

Published 16/07/2014 | 16:30

A plaque at the Baby gravesite at Tuam Mother and Baby home
Tuam mother and baby home.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly said today the terms of reference for the inquiry into mother and baby homes will not be ready until the autumn when they are signed off by Cabinet.

Dr Reilly was speaking after he announced that Judge Yvonne Murphy has agreed to Chair the Commission of Investigation into matters related to mother and baby homes.

“I am delighted that a widely respected person of the calibre of Judge Yvonne Murphy has agreed to head up this investigation.  Judge Murphy has a very strong track record in effectively establishing the truth in relation to important and sensitive matters.  She is ideally suited to this challenging role.

“The Government may give consideration to the appointment of further members to the Commission but I believe Judge Murphy’s agreement to undertake the role of Chair of the Commission is a very positive development in the process to establish an effective and independent investigation.”

The Department published the report of the Inter-Departmental Group on Mother and Baby Homes which sets out the background against which the commission will operate.

He said: ”The Government is committed to the early establishment of an effective Commission of Investigation into matters related to the mother and baby home controversy. The Report is an important input into the Government’s deliberations on the scope of the Commission of Investigation.

“My Department has also received submissions on the terms of reference for the Commission from over 120 groups and individuals. A number of meetings have been held with groups. Collectively these inputs and consultations will assist the Government in finalising proposals for the Commission’s establishment. I will update Dáil Éireann tomorrow (17th July). My predecessor and I have engaged with party spokespersons and I intend to continue this process in order to achieve as much consensus as possible.”

“On the return of the Dáil after the summer recess I intend tabling a draft order to establish the Commission under the Commission of Investigation Act, 2004 together with a statement providing an estimate of the costs to be incurred by the Commission in conducting the investigation and a time frame for its work.

“This is a complex task and it is very important it is completed to the highest standard.  As highlighted in the Report of the Inter-Departmental Group, past experience indicates that the establishment of a Commission of Investigation must be handled very carefully and precisely in order to ensure the Commission is set up on the most sound footing possible.”

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