Sinn Féin TD for Tipperary Martin Browne has said that for many survivors of institutions like Sean Ross Abbey Mother and Baby Home, the redress scheme as announced this week was an exercise in exclusion rather than compassion.
Teachta Browne said:
“I have been contacted by a number of survivors of Sean Ross Abbey who are more than just furious at the exclusion of infants, who spent less than six months at a Mother and Baby Home, from accessing redress or an enhanced medical card. They are deeply upset and feel let down yet again.
“I cannot understand why this decision was made, considering the overwhelming accounts in the Commission of Investigation about the impact that their forced separation had on their lives.
“Some of those I have spoken to are unsurprised that again they have been failed as there has been a steady pattern of this over the years and decades.
“This six-month rule is totally arbitrary as every minute spent in these awful places was a minute too long, and it does not reflect the fact that it only took the religious orders a moment to make a decision that would fundamentally affect the entire future of a young child.
“It is an outrageous decision that defies belief, runs counter to good sense, and is deeply hurtful.
“The issue for the survivors was about recognition, and that finally the time of being excluded was over.
“Unfortunately, their hopes have been dashed, and the exclusion they have been subjected to throughout their lives has continued through the actions of the Department.
“As a result, their trauma continues, and they find themselves with another struggle to contend with.
“We have to ask as well, what message is being sent to the mothers whose suffering has been determined as being worth just €5,000?
“It is also deeply frustrating to be told that the religious institutions have only recently been contacted to contribute to the scheme. They must be held to account.
“All of this has increased my concerns at what the future holds when it comes to the demands being made for further scans at Sean Ross Abbey, given the attitude that is emerging from the Department towards the survivors’ needs and demands.
“The survivors of Sean Ross Abbey are being fully supported locally, but the intentions of the Department now have a question mark hanging over them.”