TD Cairns calls for mother and baby home commission members to come before Oireachtas committee

TD Cairns calls for mother and baby home commission members to come before Oireachtas committee

Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns speaking to media during a Social Democrat press Briefing

A CORK TD has requested that members of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation come before the Oireachtas committee and called for the Government to reject its report.

Holly Cairns raised the issue following the participation of one of the commissioners, Professor Mary Daly, in an online seminar.

The Social Democrats TD said it was hard for many to understand why Prof Daly would participate in the seminar, “but wouldn’t come before the Oireachtas committee”.

Speaking to The Echo she said: “One of the things as well that is so blatantly absent is the methodology of that report. To not even come forward to answer questions in relation to that, it beggars belief.”

She stated that she “can’t believe the Government have not rejected the report yet”.

Prof Daly admitted that the commission discounted the testimony of hundreds of survivors as they were given in private. Ms Carins said that more than 500 survivors provided testimonies through the confidential committee.

“From start to finish, this has been a shambles, to be honest,” she added.

Catherine Coffey, who spent time as a pregnant woman in the mother and baby home at Bessborough, said: “I think the outcome would have been a lot different and I think it would have been more balanced if we had primary stakeholders like Ann O’Gorman [who had a baby at Bessborough who she never saw again] at the table.

“We have the collective memory. We have been there. We knew the day-to-day running of these places.

“We knew certain things that only girls who were in there would know.”

Ms Coffey added that the question must be asked of who made the decision to dismiss the testimonies.

Ms O’Gorman said: “There were a lot of survivors that had very sad stories, including my own story, and that was never told.”

While her main focus is the preservation of the Bessborough site, she said the commission “of course” has to answer questions.

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