Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has called on the Government to ensure that survivors’ physical and mental health needs, as well as their demands for access to birth certificates, are not overlooked when the report is published next week.
Speaking today, Teachta Funchion said:
“The publication of the Mother and Baby Homes report next week marks a significant milestone for survivors of Mother and Baby Homes who so bravely came forward and shared their often deeply personal and distressing experiences.
“I want to pay tribute to survivors and families for their courageous pursuit of the truth and who have so bravely shone a light on this shameful chapter in our country’s history.
“There is little doubt that the Mother and Baby Home report will be a harrowing read and it will bring a lot of hurt and pain to surface again for many survivors and families. We owe it to the victims to ensure that the approach Government takes from this point onwards is firmly based on their human rights.
“As I have said throughout this process, survivors’ needs and concerns must be at the very heart of how the Government publishes this report.
“We cannot allow the substantial and ongoing concern for victims around accessing their birth certificates to remain as one of their biggest challenges. Survivors have told me first-hand they face unnecessary obstacles, distressing delays and outright obstruction in the pursuit of what should be a human right for any adopted person.
“Not alone have they been subjected to the cruellest treatment at the hands of church and state as young children, as adults they have been subjected to the indignity of have to justify themselves to a bureaucratic system that it some cases seems designed to break them. It is cruel and it must end now.
“I have consistently called on the Minister to ensure that dedicated, tailored services providing emotional wellbeing supports are in place to meet survivors’ immediate needs. This must include health services, social support and other related services. I am very concerned that survivors will be channelled into already over-subscribed HSE services. This is simply not good enough.
“Many survivors are suffering significant financial hardship, and this is causing difficulties accessing housing. Victims and survivors need access to dedicated case workers, welfare support, talking therapies, complementary therapies and other services.
“I strongly support the view that the publication of this report is a decisive moment in our country’s history, and the steps Government take now must reflect the wishes of survivors.
“Survivors want more than just tea and sympathy from the Government- they want to see clear action taken to meet their needs and concerns.
“I, and all my Sinn Féin colleagues, will continue to work constructively to hold the Government to account on this and ensure survivors get the answers and the action they need and deserve.”