Survivors of mother and baby homes eligible for payments of up to €65,000

ireland
Survivors Of Mother And Baby Homes Eligible For Payments Of Up To €65,000 Survivors Of Mother And Baby Homes Eligible For Payments Of Up To €65,000
Around 19,000 survivors will also qualify for an enhanced medical card under plans signed off by Cabinet on Tuesday. Photo: PA Images
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By Cate McCurry, PA

Survivors of mother and baby homes will be eligible for payments of up to €65,000 as part of the Government’s redress scheme.

Some 34,000 women and children who were held in the institutions over many decades will qualify for the financial payment at an estimated cost of €800 million.

Around 19,000 survivors will also qualify for an enhanced medical card under plans signed off by Cabinet on Tuesday.

And there will be a separate work-related payment for women who were resident in certain institutions for more than three months and who undertook what might be termed commercial work.

These payments start from 1,500 for those who undertook six months’ of work and increases to €60,000.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme is the largest scheme of its type in the history of the State.

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The payment scheme will be legislated for and will open for applications in late 2022.

A Government commissioned report, published in January, found that the religious institutions for unmarried women who got pregnant produced high levels of infant mortality and misogyny.

 

Many mother and baby homes were run by Catholic nuns.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin previously apologised for the “profound generational wrong” experienced by survivors of the homes for unmarried mothers and their children following its publication.

Women suffered emotional abuse and were often subject to denigration and derogatory remarks, the report said.

The redress scheme is part of the 22 measures agreed by Government in response to the report.

The payment scheme will include all mothers who spent time in a mother and baby institution and the amount will increase based on their length of stay.

It will also include all children who spent six months or more in an institution, and did not receive redress for that institution under the Residential Institutions.

An enhanced medical card will be available to everybody who was resident in a mother and baby or county home institution for six months or more.

Survivors and former residents who live overseas will qualify for a payment, and will have the choice to receive an enhanced medical card or a once-off payment of €3,000 in lieu of the card.

The Government said the scheme will take a “holistic and non-adversarial approach” to ensure survivors and former residents are not re-traumatised by their engagement with it.

A further major element of the action plan will be the creation of a National Memorial and Records Centre.

This will be progressed by a group chaired by the secretary general to the Government.

Mr O’Gorman said: “It’s important to acknowledge at the outset that there is no payment or measure that can ever fully compensate or atone for the harm done by the mother and baby institutions.

“It represents a significant milestone in the State’s acknowledgement of its past failures and of the needless suffering experienced by so many of its citizens.

“The payments is in recognition of time spent in one of the institutions, the harsh conditions, the emotional abuse and other forms of mistreatment, stigma and trauma experienced by residents.”

He added: “I want to thank the survivors and their families who participated in the consultation process for the scheme, both in Ireland and abroad. The depth of feeling shone through and is reflected in the proposals published today.

“The consultation process on the scheme also illuminated more clearly than ever that redress is a broad concept that means a range of things to people. For some it is an apology and memorialisation, while for others it lies in access to records or opportunities to avail of support.

“The Government is committed to delivering substantial responses in all these areas.

“We are progressing legislation to enable access to birth certificates and early life information, and to allow for interventions at the site in Tuam.”

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