Friday 18 October 2019

Mother and Baby Homes commission granted extension to finish reports

Katherine Zappone TD Picture: Tom Burke
Katherine Zappone TD Picture: Tom Burke

Eilish O’Regan

The Commission which is investigating Mother and Baby Homes has been granted an extension of time to complete its three reports.

The Cabinet, which granted the extension, said all reports will not now be completed by February 2018.

The extension is to accommodate” the large number of witnesses coming forward,” said a spokesman.

However, the delay will disappoint many women who, because of their age, were hoping for a speedy conclusion to the proceedings.

The Commission said it wanted to ensure  all new information discovered is accurately recorded to give a full understanding of the social history involved.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said the interim report published today focuses exclusively on the request for the extension of time.

The “Government has asked the Commission to identify any additional matters outside of its scope which may be critical to reaching conclusions on the matters central to its remit and report back by September.”

She said that following today’s Government decision she was publishing by way of interim report the reasoning behind the request from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission for an extended time frame for the publication of two reports.

These are the report of the confidential committee on witness hearings and the report of the academic social history.

“The Commission points out that the number of confidential hearings with witnesses is expected to reach 500 with 150 witnesses already meeting with the Confidential Committee to date.

“The Commission has also identified a large volume of new information which is relevant to the Social History Report.

“Allowing the additional time requested to conclude this research will significantly enhance our understanding of how society treated vulnerable mothers and children in these homes, and how attitudes, policy and legislation changed over the period.

“I accept that the extension will cause disappointment, and I have asked that representative groups are fully informed not just about the decision but the background on which it was made. I will make arrangements to meet representative groups in September”.

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