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Saturday 17 August 2019

Calls for criminal probe into mother and baby homes

'Deep anger': Fianna Fáil spokesperson Anne Rabbitte. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
'Deep anger': Fianna Fáil spokesperson Anne Rabbitte. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Criminal investigations should be conducted into former mother and baby homes to ensure accountability for any breaches of the law that occurred in the institutions.

The call from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) comes after the Commission of Investigation into the homes released its fifth interim report on the burial arrangements for children who died.

It found the final resting place of hundreds of children who died at the homes is unknown.

The ICCL said the Commission's report "reveals disturbing detail on the failure of institutions to provide dignified burials for hundreds of children who died in their care". A statement added the report "raises more questions than it is able to answer".

It called on the Government to mandate individual criminal investigations "to ensure that where the law was broken or where human rights abuses have been committed, accountability is prioritised."

The council also raised concern about "strict rules" on the use of evidence gathered by the commission, saying witnesses in any future cases would need to be re-interviewed and are "likely to be re-victimised as a result".

Fianna Fáil children spokesperson Anne Rabbitte said there was "deep anger and hurt" among people who experienced the institutions and she understands the desire for accountability.

She stopped short of calling for a criminal investigation saying she did not want to pre-empt the commission's conclusions. It is due to report next year.

A Department of Children spokesperson said criminal investigations are a matter for the Garda.

A statement said the interim report will be referred by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to the gardaí for "appropriate attention".

The department said the commission operates under a legal framework that provides an effective mechanism to investigate complex and sensitive matters while also respecting fair procedures and natural justice.

Read more: Varadkar: Irish society 'inherits a deep shame' over Mother and Baby Homes

Read more: 'Let us know where they are buried' - Katherine Zappone appeals for information about children at former Mother and Baby Homes

Irish Independent

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