Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, read statements from survivors of Mother and Baby Homes into the Dáil record this week as he called for no more delays in Mother and Baby Homes redress decisions.
Survivors need to have their stories told, Deputy Pringle said, as he read a sample of emails sent to his office.
Deputy Pringle spoke in support of Opposition amendments to the Government’s redress scheme for survivors.
He supported Opposition amendments to limit time for the chief deciding officer’s decision-making.
Deputy Pringle said: “I know the minister will probably get up and say that the intention will be to make these decisions quickly anyway, and there is no need for these amendments.”
However, he said, when the words “as soon as practicable”, appear in legislation, “that just sends a chill down my spine, because I know ‘as soon as practicable’ for people in the real world and ‘as soon as practicable’ for people in the legislative world and in the world of Government are two very different things.”
The deputy said: “I think it’s vitally important that the time limits be there because any delay and slowness that’s built into this legislation will be used, unfortunately.”
“For that reason, I want to support all these amendments because I think they make that difference, and they make it feel like the State is responding rapidly to the people who need a response.”
Deputy Pringle said: “It’s very difficult for the people who have lived through this and have to watch this as well. I send my thoughts out to them and hopefully maybe at some stage in the future something proper can be done to address it again, because we will be back at this, no doubt about it.”
One survivor wrote: “I would love to get my story to the Dáil as this really upsets me how things have turned out. I thank you for all your help but as a child who was in St Patrick’s and being in different children’s homes I will still live with unanswered questions to do with my life. Things such as photos of me as a baby might not be much to some people but it’s my life, no one else’s. I would like to know how you would feel not ever having someone that they call mam or dad, or how they would feel if they had no records of when they were a baby … I was supposed to be in a safe place. I have feelings and I don’t ever think my heart will be mended.”
Another wrote: “I, for one, do not want their insulting pittance. I want justice for being coerced into giving up my son up for adoption, an illegal adoption as I was underage to begin with for consent of any sort. I was 14 when I was pregnant and just turned 15 when I had my son. So I am in the process of taking an individual case. I think that many more will do the same if the government continue with this ridiculous redress bill. I am really upset and angry I was denied the opportunity of rearing my son.”
A third wrote: “What I’m disgusted with is the near-certain outcome … My mother never had a chance to speak out and died in an institution. The least I can do is send a few emails.”