Latest: Children's Minister says government 'not trying to foist responsibility on to society' in apology to mother and baby home survivors

Latest: Children's Minister says government 'not trying to foist responsibility on to society' in apology to mother and baby home survivors

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman T.D. refuted any suggestion that the Government was trying to foist responsibility for the mother and baby homes scandal on to society.

Latest: 

Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman said it was important an apology to the survivors of the mother and baby homes is made today.

Some survivors have asked for more time to read the Commission of Investigation's 3,000-page report into the homes for unmarried mothers and their children before the Taoiseach makes a formal apology in the Dail this afternoon.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland programme, Mr O Gorman said: "It is clear that the State and successive governments failed in any way to address this issue, and I think it is important in that context, that the State, as part of the set of responses that it put out yesterday, the first one of these is an apology; a clear and a clear and unambiguous statement by the Taoiseach on behalf of the State, that we are sorry for what happened to the women who entered these homes, to the children who were born within these homes."

Such an apology, he added, could be used as the basis to try to rebuild trust with survivors that had been "so badly damaged".

Mr O'Gorman refuted any suggestion that the Government was trying to foist responsibility for the mother and baby homes scandal on to society.

"I don't think the Taoiseach or anyone in the Government is trying to in any way foist or deflect responsibility. That's why the apology is coming. That's why we set out 22 actions in our action plan of responses to this report."

He added: "The fact that the Taoiseach on behalf of the State is making an apology today does make it very clear that this Government takes responsibility on behalf of the State for the failings that are manifestly clear within this report."

Earlier: 

The Taoiseach will apologise to survivors of homes for unmarried mothers and their children later.

The institutions for those who fell pregnant out of wedlock produced high levels of infant mortality, misogyny and stigmatisation of some of society's most vulnerable, an independent report said.

Many mother and baby homes were run by Catholic nuns.

The commission of investigation report found "appalling" levels of death amongst the very youngest, more than one in 10 of children present.

Micheál Martin is to deliver the public acknowledgement on behalf of the State in parliament, the Dail, in Dublin later on Wednesday.

Publication of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission Report An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, T.D with Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman T.D and Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte T.D hold a live video link with survivors and stakeholders at Government Buildings ahead of the press briefing. Pic: Julien Behal
Publication of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission Report An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, T.D with Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman T.D and Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte T.D hold a live video link with survivors and stakeholders at Government Buildings ahead of the press briefing. Pic: Julien Behal

On Tuesday he said the scandal over many decades was a dark chapter in the country's history.

He added that the Republic had displayed a "warped" attitude to sexuality and intimacy in the past.

Some of the institutions were owned and run by the local health authorities - the county homes, Pelletstown, Tuam and Kilrush.

Others were owned and run by religious orders, for example the three homes run by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Bessborough, Sean Ross and Castlepollard (the Sacred Heart homes).

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, has apologised to survivors.

Some of the homes were in very poor physical condition.

Many of the women did suffer emotional abuse and were often subject to denigration and derogatory remarks, the commission of investigation's report said.

Almost 9,000 children died, approximately 15% of all youngsters who were in the institutions, the investigation found.

Major causes included respiratory infections and gastroenteritis.

The proportion of women admitted to such homes in Ireland was probably the highest in the world in the 20th century, the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes said.

There were about 56,000 unmarried mothers and 57,000 children in the 18 mother and baby homes and county homes investigated.

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