May 23, 2023
Last chance to amend Mother & Baby Home redress scheme to include all survivors – Senator Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan, has called on Minister Roderic O’Gorman to use the remaining time in the Seanad to “fundamentally reform” the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme Bill.

The Bill is due to complete Committee Stage this week, and is expected to complete Report and Final Stage in the coming fortnight.

Senator Gavan said: 

“This is the last chance to reform this deeply flawed Bill. The Minister must include the 30,000 people currently excluded so that no survivor is left out of its redress scheme.

“As it stands, 40 percent of survivors will be left behind by the government’s Mother and Baby Homes Institutions Payment Scheme.  

“The scheme, which is due to be debated in the Seanad this evening, will, if passed, exclude the 24,000 survivors who were born in a Mother and Baby home and were resident less than six months.

“In addition the Bill will also exclude at least 4800 survivors who were ‘boarded out’ by the institutions.

“Survivors bravely came forward and told their stories because they wanted to see justice. However, many have been left feeling deeply frustrated and let down by the appalling way in which the redress scheme has been designed.”

“My Sinn Féin colleague Teachta Kathleen Funchion, has been calling on the Minister, since the publication of the Mother and Baby Homes report back in January 2021, to ensure any redress scheme meets the needs of all survivors irrespective of time spent in an institution.

“It’s time to respect Mother and Baby Homes survivors and their families.

“I know first-hand that survivors will be bitterly disappointed if this bill completes its passage through the Seanad in this form. The government must change the redress scheme to be fairer to them.

“Sinn Féin has been outspoken in its calls for immediate and substantive recourse from religious orders and pharmaceutical companies to contribute to the redress scheme. This has not happened.

“I am calling on all Senators to demand that this scheme be reformed to be truly inclusive and fair. This is the very least that survivors deserve from their public representatives. Too many of the latter, all from the government benches, have been shamefully silent on this topic.

“The government has treated survivors with complete contempt time and time again and it is long overdue that they be respected and that their needs are met.

“It is vital that the government stops and considers the impact this deeply flawed redress scheme will have. It should not be just a box ticking exercise, it should be the State showing them that they are recognised and that they have been listened to.

 “I am appealing to the Minister to do the right thing here, it is the last chance to amend this bill so it meets the needs of all survivors. It is time to respect survivors and their families.”

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