Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has said that survivors of Mother and Baby Homes have not had all their questions answered today, while lambasting the “insensitive” approach the government has taken.
Deputy Tóibín said: “The report on Mother and Baby Homes has been published today, and it does make for distressing reading. Survivors have been phoning my offices today seeking assistance in getting their hands on a copy of the report. These survivors have been failed today. They were not furnished with a copy of the report ahead of the media. Instead they were invited to attend a zoom meeting with the Taoiseach and Minister for Children. Many of these former residents are elderly and were thus unable to download the app, create an account and attend the meeting. Furthermore, the process at that meeting whereby they could ask typed questions was unnecessarily difficult. None of the survivors were allowed speak for the duration of the meeting and their microphones remained muted by the host”.
Deputy Tóibín continued: “This long, challenging report today leaves many questions unanswered for survivors. I know of one elderly man who was separated from his brother, as a child, when he left the home. He doesn’t know where his brother is, or if he is still alive. He has a feeling in his heart that his brother may be in London. As he grows older and more frail he is becoming more and more curious about his long lost sibling. This report does not tell him where his sibling is, although it is likely that the Commission and the sealed documents with TUSLA hold the answers to his question. What about the elderly lady who stands in protest outside the Dáil in the rain with a baby doll in her hand most days – what does this report do for her?”
“The government should have ensured that survivors were furnished with a copy of this report before it was published. They should have been offered proper counselling, support and love and at the very least a sensitive phone call from the Department. Instead they were sent a link by email which directed them to download zoom. These elderly survivors are emotionally drained today, and have relayed to us that they are not feeling any love from the government. This is most regrettable. The leaking of the report was shameful. There has been much talk about compensation in recent days, and while that is to be welcomed survivors are speculating that many of them may be dead by the time any tribunal is set up and eventually concluded. For now we must reflect on the immediate needs of survivors. These people were born into a country that didn’t love them, under the care of a State that didn’t love them. We must love now as they near the end of their lives. Nobody, who was born in these institutions, should be left without emotional, phycological, physical and financial care and assistance in these years they have left”, concluded Tóibín.