12/01/2018 - On 5th December 2017, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs published the 3rd Interim Report from the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. In its report the Commission outlines the practical challenges in completing its three reports in the available time and requests an extension of one year.
The Government agreed to extend the timeframe for submission by the Commission of its three final Reports until 17 February 2019. In reaching this decision, the Government accepted that additional time is required to facilitate the comprehensive statutory investigation of the matters of significant public concern referred to the Commission.
Establishment of the Collaborative Forum
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will make arrangements to establish a CollaborativeForum to facilitate dialogue and action on issues of concern to former residents. The Minister has published a Charter for the Collaborative Forum which describes its structure, scope and working methodology. The Collaborative Forum is a progressive response to the theme of “nothing about us without us” which has emerged from the facilitated consultations. Participants will create and drive forward a process that they can support and trust. The recommendations of the Collaborative Forum will be a significant input to Government’s approach on relevant matters.
An independent panel of persons with relevant experience will be tasked with identifying and selecting suitable members for the Collaborative Forum. The Forum should represent as wide a range of relevant perspectives and experiences as possible (birth mothers, children, fathers, family members, adoptees, a diversity across the relevant institutions, academics/advocates, representatives of the diaspora, etc.) The panel’s work will be facilitated by an independent Chairperson. Smaller sub groups will also be established to examine particular themes. The details of the Charter on the Forum are included in the link below.
The Minister will make further announcements shortly regarding the progress on the establishment of the Forum.
The Forum is separate from the independent Commission of Investigation which will deliver its findings in February 2019.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-reoccurrence
The Government is to invite Mr. Pablo de Greiff, UN Special Rapporteur, to assist Ireland in our response to issues related to former Mother and Baby homes.
Minister Zappone will work with her colleague the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to arrange this invitation.
Future of the Site of the Former Mother and Baby Home, Tuam, Co. Galway.
The final Report of the Expert Technical Group (ETG) entitled, Options and Appropriate Courses of Action available to Government at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home, Tuam, Co. Galway was published on the 12 December 2017. The Report identifies five possible options for responding to the discovery of infant remains at this site.
Public consultation will inform decisions on the future of the site. Galway County Council has agreed to facilitate a structured consultation on the options to determine the views of all interested parties and report back by mid-March 2018. The Council will announce details of this process. The Inter-Departmental Group, which has an oversight role for the project, will then propose a course of action for consideration by the Government.
In encouraging all parties to actively engage with the process the Minister said “I want to ensure that whatever action is taken respects the memory and dignity of those who are buried there and takes account of the concerns and wishes of all who are affected, whether as former residents of the home, relatives of those who may be buried there, or as local residents who live near the site.
”The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has also asked Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, in his role as Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, to examine a number of human rights issues of a social legal nature identified in the Report and to report on these matters.
Future of The Site of the Former Mother and Baby Home, Tuam, Co. Galway.