Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children Kathleen Funchion TD has today voiced her long-standing concern that state apologies, while welcome, are not backed up with action to amend the serious failings of this state in the care of young pregnant mothers and their babies.
Teachta Funchion was responding following an apology made by Minister Roderic O’Gorman in the Seanad on behalf of the government to people who have been impacted by illegal birth registrations.
Teachta Funchion said:
“Today’s apology comes the same day we learnt that no agreement has been reached with religious orders on contributing towards redress for survivors of mother and baby homes.
“I find it deeply worrying that we cannot compel in law religious orders – who so willingly took public funds to run these horrendous institutions – to contribute towards redress.
“It also comes on the back of the state contemplating a substantial investment, likely up to €1 billion, on the new National Maternity Hospital on lands that should have been gifted to the state by the Sisters of Charity, rather than transferred through a convoluted handover of ownership to the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group.
“Today’s apology will be a deeply difficult moment for many affected by illegal birth registrations who have been watching with interest the passage of the Birth Information and Tracing Legislation through the Dáil, Seanad and Children’s Committee.
“As Sinn Féin’s spokesperson I have heard first-hand the heart-breaking stories from adoptees who recounted in detail their battles with the State and other agencies to obtain their personal birth and care information.
“I have always known that this legislation is ground-breaking and really matters to all adopted people.
“And I continue to be concerned that the Minister will not countenance the removal of the mandatory information session, which is very much a red line issue for Sinn Féin.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to commend those who have bravely shared their stories publicly, but equally I would also like to acknowledge and thank the countless many who have watched on silently as I and my colleagues worked through this once in a lifetime legislation.
“The significance of this legislation was not lost on me and I will continue to ensure that all victims and survivors are heard.”