“Minister’s attitude to Mother and Baby Homes debate was an insult to democracy” – Ógra Aontú
Ógra Aontú have expressed their disgust that the government have voted to seal the Mother and Baby Homes records for thirty years. Spokesperson for the group, Luke-Peter Silke, said:
“As someone who comes from Tuam myself, I have met with survivors of the Mother and Baby Home and with campaigners. I have to say I am utterly disgusted at the passage of the Mother and Baby Homes Bill. We in Aontú opposed and voted against this Bill. Our party leader Peadar Tóibín TD, together with Independent TDs Seán Canney and Catherine Connolly, signed a total of nineteen amendments to this Bill as it was moving through the Oireachtas”.
Luke-Peter continued: “At the outset of the debate in the chamber on Thursday, Minister O’Gorman told Deputy Holly Cairns that he had no intention of supporting any of the amendments. This was an incredibly disappointing statement. The purpose of our democratic system is to allow for debate, to allow opposition TDs move amendments and debate these amendments, thrash out the merits of the amendments and vote on them. By admitting, at the start of the debate, that he was opposed to the amendments, before they had even been read, moved or debated, the Minister showed how closed-minded he is on this issue”.
“Before Deputy Tóibín had a chance to explain our amendments, to read them or move them, the government had already decided that they disagreed with whatever we were about to say. That is not how democracy and the Houses of Oireachtas are supposed to work – Ministers should not be deciding that they disagree with someone before that person has even had a chance to speak. This Bill and these records are now at the mercy of the President of Ireland . We would call on Green Party Councillors, TDs and Senators to, at the very least, condemn the anti-democratic and insulting way in which Minister O’Gorman approached the debate in both houses. He did not just insult the opposition, he did not just insult democracy, but he also insulted the survivors of institutional abuse across the country. An apology is warranted, from all in the government benches”, concluded Luke-Peter.