Mother and baby home survivors demand action

A group representing the survivors has warned the Taoiseach that "actions speak louder than words" and called for an immediate meeting

Mother and baby home survivors demand action

Tuam Single Mothers and Babies Home, 06-03-2017. Image: Laura Hutton / RollingNews

A group representing mother and baby home survivors has warned the Taoiseach that “actions speak louder than words” following his speech to the Dáil yesterday.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors have asked for an immediate meeting with Enda Kenny to resolve the serious issues facing its “ageing and overwhelmingly elderly” membership community.

In the Dáil yesterday afternoon, Mr Kenny delivered an speech in which he said what has been uncovered in Tuam needs to be dealt with immediately - and described it as a “chamber of horrors.”

He blamed Irish society for the horrific treatment of single mothers and their children at the Tuam home and possibly elsewhere, saying we did not simply hide away the dead bodies of tiny human beings - but dug deep to bury our compassion, mercy and humanity itself.

Paul Redmond, spokesperson for the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors told Newstalk the group has yet to hear back from the Taoiseach regarding their call for a meeting.

“I have very little faith in political speeches from practically anybody in the government,” he said. “Actions speak louder than words, it really is that simple.”

He said the discovery at Tuam may be “just the tip of the iceberg” as there were eight other homes operating around the country:

“It was the fifth biggest of the mother and baby homes and some of them, like St Patricks on the Navan Road, were four times the size,” he said.

“It is a fact that the further back you go, the worse the conditions got and St Patrick’s is operating from 1904 - 21 years before Tuam even opened.”

The group has warned that many of their members have passed away without ever seeing a personal resolution to their many years of campaigning and warned that “in this instance, justice delayed is justice permanently denied.”

We trust that now that it is shown that Tuam, the 5th biggest of the 9 Mother and Baby homes, did indeed see 796 infants and children die over its lifetime, that Ireland acknowledge the real scale of the horror of Mother and Baby homes.

The group’s main aim is to ensure all survivors are included in the Commission of Investigation into the  - warning that “the real issue at stake is Ireland’s treatment of single mothers and their babies, not what happened to them behind the high walls of the mother and baby homes.”

Only 14 institutions and four county homes across the country fall within the terms of reference of the current commission – established in February 2015.

CMABS said it is “deeply unfair and hurtful to our community that so many of our fellow survivors have been omitted from the Inquiry” and called for immediate full inclusion of all survivors.

The group believes up to 7000 babies could have been buried at the nine mother and baby homes across the country.

On Monday the Taoiseach said the cabinet will consider extending the Commission of Investigation.