Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has apologised for saying that children who spent less than six months in mother and baby homes would not remember their experiences.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Mr O’Gorman said that through his engagement with survivors he was acutely aware of the trauma that they had experienced from their time in the institutions and from the fact that families were broken up. He was now seeking to redress this, he said.
“If I said that yesterday in the press conference, (that they would not remember) that is a very inartful way of me to describe the experience and I apologise for that, but I am clear of the need to focus on that length of time in terms of providing a measure of people's suffering in these in institutions, but also of allowing people to access these payments easily without them having to come to give evidence and be re-traumatised. "
The Minister also said that a counselling scheme specifically for people who were boarded out was being developed, but that there were not any plans at present for a separate redress Scheme for children who were boarded out from mother and baby homes.
Mr O’Gorman said that he would be prioritising older survivors, they will be awarded compensation and medical cards “late next year”.
The Minister said he wanted to be honest about the length of time it will take for legislation to be passed and scheme to be implemented. This criteria would ensure that every mother would receive “some” payment.
Mr O’Gorman said he recognised that some survivors would be disappointed with the redress scheme, but he wanted an easy way for survivors to access funds without being re-traumatised. He wanted the scheme to be up and running as soon as possible, but he had to be honest about the length of time it would take to implement.