Some survivors of institutions may not live to see the publication of the final report from the Commission of Investigation into Mother-and-Baby Homes, campaigners have warned.
The commission was scheduled to deliver its report in February, but this was delayed to June 26 due to what it said were "complex issues" which had arisen during its probe. A further extension, agreed last week, will see the final report delivered on October 30.
Anna Corrigan of the Tuam Babies Family Group, which represents families with relatives and survivors from the home, said the latest delay had come as a bitter blow.
"Time is not on their side and there is a worry that many of them won't live to read the final report. It's sad to say, but people are dying off and more will die before the final report. The community is ageing and there is nothing happening.
"There are people living in dire situations no different to [those] they found themselves in as children. They can't afford heat for their houses, they are living on their own, they are isolated, they have no support system," she said.
"We have three members in America and the only reason they knew about the commission's report was by fluke. One of them, Des, who is a former resident of Tuam, is in his seventies. Time and distance are against him and it's just delay after delay."
The commission is examining the deaths of babies and children at several homes, including those at the Tuam home for mothers and babies.
It was established to inquire into the treatment of, and dealings with, women and children in 14 mother and baby homes as well as four county homes between 1922 and 1998. It was due to report within three years of its establishment in 2015.
"We are not going away," said Ms Corrigan. "We will stand to our last person despite the fact that the old adage has always been delay, deny, until we all go and die. To the last man and woman standing we will be here. The very least the State owes us is truth, justice, accountability, prosecutions where necessary and restitution for survivors."
Historian Catherine Corless, who has researched the Tuam home, said survivors' groups would take their case for justice to the new Government.