Thousands sign petition calling for seal to be lifted on mother and baby home records

ireland
Mother and Baby Homes
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Digital Desk Staff

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the seal to be lifted on an archive containing records on mother and baby homes.

Over 50,000 people have signed the petition, which was set up yesterday by adoptee rights group Aitheantas.

Archives and survivor testimony, gathered by the commission investigating the homes, will be sealed for 30 years under legislation from 2004.

A new bill, which passed through the Seanad last night, allows the transfer a database of records to Tusla.

Maree Ryan-O'Brien, founder of Aitheantas, says access to information for survivors and adoptees has been denied for decades:

"Ireland is the only country in Europe that restricts access to birth information for adoptees.

"But yet we don't seem to be able to come to terms with our past. We need to be able to address this."

Repeal the Seal, Open the Archive

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She said the campaign: Repeal the Seal, Open the Archive pertains to all of the sealed records for people who are adopted and people who are survivors.

She added "It is about allowing those people to have a voice and I think we are getting a very, very loud clear voice."

The petition says "For the first time the Irish people can see for themselves the callousness with which the Irish State has treated Women and Children & survivors who came through Mother and Baby Homes, Baby Homes, industrial schools who are denied access to their own testimony, files and records - this needs to stop."

The current number of signatures currently stands at 55,812 with the aim of getting around 75,000.

Speaking about the recent bill, Holly Cairns, the Cork South West Social Democrats said it was disgraceful that after pleas from survivors that the Government refused to even consider one of the over 60 amendments from the opposition.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman said his advice from the Attorney General was that access to the records had been explicitly restricted by the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004.

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