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Government redress scheme fails to recognise human rights abuses

The Social Democrats will bring a private members’ motion before the Dáil tomorrow (Wednesday, October 19), calling for real justice for the survivors of mother and baby homes and a redress scheme that is fit for purpose.

The motion asks Dáil Eireann to recognise the grave and systematic human rights violations perpetrated in mother and baby homes, county homes and related institutions.

It seeks to ensure that all survivors, including those subjected to forced adoptions or who suffered abuse when boarded out, receive redress. In addition, it calls on the Government to:

  • Use the findings of the 2021 Oak report, which detailed the wishes of hundreds of survivors, as a template for a redress scheme.
  • Remove the requirement that a child must have spent six months in an institution to qualify for the scheme.
  • Revise the proposed payment rates to reflect the human rights abuses that occurred and the trauma experienced by survivors.
  • Remove the obligation for survivors to sign a waiver which would preclude them from seeking justice in the courts.
  • Appoint a human rights expert to examine testimony given to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, which many survivors feel was not accurately reflected in the final report.
  • Require religious orders and pharmaceutical companies to contribute to the redress scheme.
  • Provide immediate interim payments to survivors while the redress scheme is being developed.

Holly Cairns TD, the party’s Social Justice spokesperson, said:

“Our motion is calling on the Government to correct the findings of the flawed commission report and pay compensation that is proportionate to the suffering caused.

“Financial compensation should be just one element of any survivor-centred redress scheme. Ultimately, the process needs to be about justice and holding the perpetrators to account. The redress scheme, as currently proposed, will achieve neither.

“The issue of culpability must also be dealt with. The Government should not have to go cap in hand when it comes to seeking substantial financial contributions from religious orders and others involved in the litany of abuse that occurred in these institutions.”

October 18, 2022

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