O’Gorman: Commission was not ‘suitable’ to investigate mother and baby homes

ireland
O’gorman: Commission Was Not ‘Suitable’ To Investigate Mother And Baby Homes
The Children's Minister said he does not accept that deleted audio files of evidence could not be retrieved. Photo: PA Images.
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Vivienne Clarke

A Commission of Investigation was “probably not the suitable mechanism” to examine something as sensitive as what happened in Ireland’s mother and baby homes, the Minister for Children has said.

Roderic O’Gorman told RTÉ radio’s Today show that he does not accept a statement from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation that deleted audio files of evidence could not be retrieved.

The Minister said he was seeking an independent expert to examine the Commissions’ servers to find a technical solution to retrieve the deleted files.

“I am continuing to engage with the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes to see if there is any technical solution to retrieving the files,” he said.

The Commission was an independent entity which had told him that the files had been deleted because it gave guarantees of confidentiality to the survivors, he added.

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I believe survivors, the Government believes survivors

The Commission’s report was “a vast piece of work” but its language had been disappointing, he said, particularly in the executive summary and especially in its findings.

The State’s apology to survivors had been based on the report, but it had “never been the end point.”

“I believe survivors, the Government believes survivors,” Minister O’Gorman said.

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The Commission’s approach had not worked as it should not have taken away from the “lived experience” of survivors, said the Minister.

Mr O’Gorman said that he would “have to look closely” at legislation to see if “something more targeted” or “survivor-centric” should be introduced.

When asked about calls to extend the lifetime of the Commission, which is due to conclude at the end of the month, the Minister said he was awaiting a response from the Attorney General.

The Commission is a judicial commission of investigation, established in 2015 by the Government.

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