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Pressure grows to publish report on 'racial profiling' in mother and baby homes

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Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)

Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)

Katherine Zappone (Niall Carson/PA)

Pressure is mounting over a report which revealed mixed-race children were routinely withheld for adoption in mother and baby homes - and which remains unpublished.

Details of the report by the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes were exclusively revealed in the Sunday Independent yesterday.

They revealed children were subjected to "racial profiling" and stripped of their identities in the homes. In one account, a child's skin colour was listed as a "defect".

The report was given to outgoing Children's Minister Katherine Zappone last year, but she decided not to publish it on the advice of the Attorney General.

To the disappointment of forum members, only its recommendations were published.

The forum was appointed in parallel with the Commission of Investigation into mother and baby homes, which discovered the remains of children in a disused sewerage container at the site of the former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway.

A statement on the minister'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.

Examination

Fintan Dunne, a spokesperson for the advocacy group Irish First Mothers, told the Herald yesterday he believed 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. 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.

"We believe the public debate should begin now.

"Let's not wait for the politicians and the paperwork. We already are armed with most of the truth thanks to the work of the media."

He said they would take the Commission of Investigation report as a first step of a "substantive" investigation.

The forum's report was also highly critical of the child and family agency Tusla, which holds birth records from adoption services and some mother and baby homes.

It said levels of anger, frustration and discontent with the agency from survivors trying to access their records "has escalated to record numbers".

In a statement, Ms Zappone said she had already expressed her disappointment she could not publish the forum's full report, saying that it cut across the work of the Commission of Investigation.

There were also "concerns" about publishing material that makes allegations against others "in the absence of fair procedures being afforded to the persons concerned".

Tusla did not comment yesterday.


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