Survivors of mother and baby homes 'feel thrown to the wolves' by inquiry terms

Group representing survivors calls for more homes to be included in commission's remit

mother and baby homes

People leave candles outside the Dáil during a 2014 vigil in memory of the Tuam babies | Photo: PA Images

A group representing survivors of mother and baby homes has demonstrated outside the office of a government inquiry into the institutions.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors (CMABS) wants the commission of investigation to include all homes associated with alleged forced and illegal adoptions.

The probe, which is due to complete its report by February 2018, was set up last year to examine the operation of 14 such institutions between 1922 and 1998.

But Paul Redmond of CMABS told Newstalk.com the survivor community has been “split in two” by the exclusion of other homes from the inquiry’s terms of reference.

He said excluded survivors have no means of legal remedy beyond the commission of investigation.

“It’s had a horrendous impact on people,” he said. “[Survivors] feel as if their own state has thrown them to the wolves.”

It is understood the inquiry’s terms of reference allow it to recommend to the government that its remit be expanded to include all mother and baby homes.

Mr Redmond claimed the inquiry has given survivors no “credible” explanation for declining to pursue this option. 

'Died without seeing justice'

He cited Victor Stevenson, a former resident of the Westbank orphanage in Wicklow, as one of several survivors who “died without seeing justice”.

CMABS lodged a formal objection against the commission of investigation at its headquarters on Baggot Street this afternoon. 

Its complaint urges the inquiry to review five representative institutions currently excluded from the probe: the Temple Hill holding centre for unaccompanied minors, the Rotunda hospital, St Rita's nursing home, the St Patrick's Guild adoption service - all in Dublin - and Westbank in Greystones.

The government-established comission has been tasked with looking into living conditions, mortality rates and postmortem procedures (including burial arrangements and the reporting of deaths) at homes named in its terms. 

It also has the power to investigate alleged forced and illegal adoptions of children born to residents. 

The inquiry did not respond to a request for comment from Newstalk.com.

Its membership consists of retired Circuit Court judge Yvonne Murphy, Dr William Duncan and Professor Mary E Daly.