Around 34,000 Mother and Baby Home survivors are eligible for a payment under the new redress scheme announced by the Government this afternoon.
The scheme will provide survivors with financial redress and access to an enhanced medical card “in acknowledgment of the suffering experienced while resident” in the homes.
The €800m scheme still needs to be legislated for, with the Government aiming to have it open for application by late 2022.
The Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman said the scheme, “represents a significant milestone in the State’s acknowledgment of its past failures and of the needless suffering experienced by so many of its citizens.”
“There is no payment or measure that can ever fully compensate or atone for the harm done through the Mother and Baby Institutions,” he said.
“What we have set out today is the next chapter in the State’s response to the legacy of those institutions, and its commitment to rebuilding the trust it so grievously shattered.”
The payments will be made on an ex gratia basis, meaning the State is not accepting any liability or legal obligation regarding the suffering experienced in the homes.
The department said the scheme will adopt a “holistic and non-adversarial approach” to the provision of payments and benefits.
- All mothers who spent time in a Mother and Baby Institution are eligible for a payment, which will increase based on their length of stay.
- All children who spent six months or more in an institution and did not receive redress for that institution under the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme (RIRS), will be eligible for payment based on their length of stay.
- There will also be an additional, work-related payment for women who were resident in certain institutions for more than three months and who undertook what might be termed commercial work.
- An enhanced medical card will be available to everybody who was resident in a Mother and Baby or County Home Institution for six months or more.
It is expected that 34,000 people will qualify for a payment, while 19,000 people will also qualify for the enhanced medical card.
Survivors will qualify for a payment based solely on proof of residency and will not need any evidence of abuse suffered at the institution.
Survivors living overseas will be offered a once-off payment in lieu of the enhanced medical card.
A new action plan aimed at implementing the 22 measures the Government committed to taking in response to the priority needs of survivors has also been launched today.
The plan includes the creation of a National Memorial and Records Centre with ring-fenced funding available for research, stakeholder consultation, expert technical analysis and underlying records management.
“We are progressing legislation to enable access to birth certificates and early life information, and to allow for interventions at the site in Tuam,” said Minister O’Gorman.
“As the Action Plan outlines, work is also advancing on national and local memorialisation, including the National Memorial and Records Centre, and my Department has also opened the Commission’s Archive to ensure that survivors of Mother and Baby Institutions can access their records.”
The redress scheme was developed in consultation with survivor groups and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.