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Report on mother and baby homes racism 'must be released'

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Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

A disturbing report that reveals how mixed-race children were routinely withheld for adoption in mother and baby homes must be quickly published, campaigners have urged.

Details of the report, including how mixed-race children were subjected to "racial profiling" and stripped of their identity in the homes, emerged in yesterday's 'Sunday Independent'.

In one account, a child's skin colour was listed on their files as a "defect".

The report by the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes was given to outgoing Children's Minister Katherine Zappone last year.

But to the disappointment of forum members, the minister decided not to publish it on the advice of the Attorney General, and released only its recommendations.

The forum was appointed in parallel with the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, and its members included former residents and campaigners.

A statement issued on Ms Zappone's behalf said the forum's report will be "revisited" when the Commission of Investigation completes its final report. It has been delayed until June.

Fintan Dunne, a spokesperson for the advocacy group Irish First Mothers, told the Irish Independent he believed that both reports should be in the public domain "as soon as possible". "Let the incoming government move expeditiously to get this information out before legislators and the public, and then let's have a national examination," he said.

"We appreciate the Attorney General's concerns, but we would like to see both reports as soon as is legally and politically possible.

"Let's begin to address the issues now on a cross-party basis, and start to progress this issue, irrespective of the delays that are taking place in other political arenas."

The Children's Minister said she has already expressed her disappointment that she could not publish the forum's full report, saying it cut across the work of the Commission of Investigation.

Irish Independent