Donegal Sinn Féin T.D., Pearse Doherty, has this evening raised his disappointment and anger with the Mother and Baby Home Report in the Dáil.
To coincide with the debate, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has published legislation to give survivors of Mother and Baby Homes access to their birth records.
The Civil Registration Amendment Bill 2021 will enable any adopted person to access a copy of their birth certificate and will be brought before the Dáil by Sinn Féin for debate as soon as possible.
Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Teachta Doherty said: “I want to begin by paying tribute to the women and children who spent time in these institutions; and the bravery shown by survivors who engaged with the Commission. I know there are also many who did not have the opportunity to do so.”
He said: “It is five years since the Commission was established. This process has been, for so many survivors, traumatic, frustrating and deeply disappointing. In so many ways the Report and the Commission have failed survivors and their families. These institutions were not Mother and Baby Homes, but part of a regime which stripped mothers and babies of their dignity and rights. A regime which incarcerated women and girls; A regime which degraded and dehumanized them; A regime which forcibly removed children from their mothers; An act of cruelty which the Report failed, and brazenly refused, to recognise.”
“The narrative perpetuated by the Report is one which tries to universalize blame, thereby absolving Church and State of their primary responsibility for this regime of misery and cruelty.”
“The courage of survivors must now be met with immediate action. That includes proper redress for all those impacted; Dedicated counselling and support services; And so much more.”
Deputy Doherty added that the process should begin by respecting the right of survivors to their identity.
He said: “No one can deny any person the right to their own identity. Survivors must have access to their own information – The right and access to birth certificates and adoption files, and measures to safeguard records. That is their right. That right must be delivered.
“The State failed mothers and their children. It must now accept responsibility for that failure and deliver for survivors.”