DOZENS of people attended a Repeal the Seal protest in Cork city at the weekend. The organisers said they wanted to keep the pressure on the Government to ensure that access to information on mother-and-baby homes was given to those affected.
The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was due to submit its final report to Roderic O’Gorman, the children’s minister, on Friday afternoon, after five years of work. The report, which stretches to 4,000 pages, will be published after it is reviewed by the Attorney General, and “as soon as possible”, the Taoiseach said.
The document includes testimonies of women who lived and worked in the mother-and-baby homes between the 1920s and 1990s.
The move came after a massive public outcry from survivors, campaigners, opposition parties, and the public last week over the Government passing controversial legislation that would allow a database created by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission to be sent to child-and-family agency, Tusla.
Joy Gannon, who was born in a mother-and-baby home, organised the protest with her daughter Ciara. Despite the Government’s recent commitments, Ms Gannon fears they will have a fight on their hands.
“We need to keep the pressure on or they will ignore us,” Ms Gannon said. “We need to educate people, raise awareness, and keep the Government listening.
“We just want them to be truthful. We all know it was hell, but we want closure. This information is ours: It is a basic human right. I don’t know my medical history: That is dangerous. We need to be let access our files.
“There is no clear legislation. An FOI request won’t get me any new information. Names are blocked out and faces scratched off photos, because it infringes on their right to privacy. I think new legislation is needed in relation to this issue,” Ms Gannon said.
“We need fresh eyes, ears, and hearts.”
Ms Gannon said she and her daughter had been delighted by the support on Saturday. “We were very happy, considering the storm the night before and the 5km radius and the fact that we only had a few days to organise.”