Launch of major project to assist with Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation

Press Release, 15th June 2016

Launch of major project to assist with Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation

Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) and Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) are delighted to announce the launch of a major project which will offer support to those who wish to make a statement to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters.

The project will provide individuals with free witness statement drafting assistance and it has been endorsed by Philomena Lee and her daughter Jane Libberton. It will be known as Clann: Ireland’s Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering the Data (Clann) and it will be delivered in association with global law firm Hogan Lovells.

JFMR and ARA believe firstly that it is crucial that those who wish to give evidence to the Commission of Investigation have access to legal assistance at no cost, and secondly that the putting in place of such assistance will help ensure that the Commission of Investigation conducts the most comprehensive investigation possible and that it makes appropriate findings and recommendations.

Everyone who compiles a witness statement with Hogan Lovells’ assistance will retain a copy and will be free to use it for any other purpose, including making a written submission to the Commission should they wish not to appear in person.  The Clann project has also created a Guide to the Commission of Investigation as a resource.

Clann’s assistance will be available to people living anywhere in the world. Assistance will be offered to anyone with experience of Ireland’s treatment of unmarried mothers and their children, and now adult adopted people, even if they do not fall under the list of 18 institutions initially being investigated by the Commission. ARA and JFMR have supplied the Commission with details of 170+ institutions, organisations, agencies and individuals who were involved with unmarried mothers and their children in 20th century Ireland. The Commission has statutory powers to request a widening of its focus and we believe that if a thorough and transparent investigation is to be made, the Commission will include all relevant bodies.

In addition to individualised assistance, Clann will anonymise donated statements and will gather documentary and archival materials in order to make a public group report to the Commission of Investigation, the Irish Government, and international human rights bodies. The Clann submission will also consider the range of forms of redress that may be due to various individuals, including access to records, disclosure of the whereabouts of remains and financial compensation.

The witness statement gathering process forms part of a larger project to create a permanent archive of the experiences of Ireland’s unmarried mothers and their children via the Clann website. ARA and JFMR are concerned that the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related matters has no current plans to hold any public hearings or to allow public access (or access to those affected) to the documentary/archival evidence that it is considering. Clann aims to provide public access to as much non-sensitive documentary evidence as possible, in order to create public awareness of the Commission’s investigations, in the hope that members of the public will contribute documentary evidence to both the Commission and Clann, and so that individuals affected can comment on the evidence. The Clann website will act as a resource for individuals affected by the issues and will be available to the wider public for ongoing education and research.

JFMR and ARA, along with Rod Baker, who is leading the project from Hogan Lovells’ side, will hold a Clann information session at the Adoption Rights Alliance Adoption Information Day at the Racket Hall Hotel, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary on 25th June 2016, beginning at 12pm. Philomena Lee and Jane Libberton will also be in attendance. Further information sessions will be held in Ireland, the UK and the US in due course.

Ends. Notes to editors ARA and JFMR are grateful for the assistance of KOD Lyons solicitors and a number of barristers. KOD Lyons and Colin Smith BL provided representation to us at our recent hearing with the Commission of Investigation and they and Michael Lynn SC, Siobhan Phelan SC and Maeve O'Rourke, Barrister (England and Wales) have been an invaluable support over the past year in the development of the Clann project.

Clann Website :  http://www.clannproject.org

Clann Email:    info@clannproject.org

Guide to the Commission of Investigation: http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Guide-to-the-Commission-of-Investigation_V1_June-2016.pdf

Information Form on the Witness Statement Gathering Process: http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Clann-Information-Form.pdf

Adoption Rights Alliance Email:               info@adoptionrightsalliance.com Website:           www.adoptionrightsalliance.com

Justice for Magdalenes Research Email:               info@magdalenelaundries.com Website:           www.magdalenelaundries.com

Hogan Lovells Website:           http://www.hoganlovells.com/probono/

 

Parliamentary Questions: Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

3rd November 2015, Question asked by Robert Dowds, TD 628. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs his views on a submission (details supplied) regarding the mother and baby homes commission of investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. Response from James Reilly, then Minister for Children The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters was established by Government Order on 17 February 2015 (S.I. No 57 of 2015). It is essential to recognise that in accordance with Section 9 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, a Commission of Investigation is entirely independent in the performance of its functions. I am therefore not in a position to comment on any submissions made to the Commission nor would it be appropriate for me to do so. The Deputy may wish to contact the Commission directly at; Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, 73 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 or by email info@mbhcoi.ie This question has been downloaded from kildarestreet.com (original link here )

Parliamentary Questions: Departmental Advertising Expenditure

13th January 2016, Question asked by Aengus Ó Snodaigh, TD 527. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the annual cost to his Department of advertisements placed on its behalf in newspapers, magazines, television and radio, and social media. Response from James Reilly, then Minister for Children The Department of Children and Youth Affairs website is the primary resource in providing information for use by the public and an essential communications tool for my Department. My Department occasionally uses free tools e.g. Twitter and YouTube, to communicate with the public. On occasion, my Department may provide public information through other media e.g. electronic, broadcast and print media where a requirement for alternative platforms of information is required. In 2015 my Department spent the following on advertising as referred to in the question. €60,977.44 spent in relation to public radio and print media advertisements re the establishment of the Commission of Investigation (Mother & Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters) €6279.15 in total spent with regard to Department advertisements in the State Directory; Golden Pages phone books & website; and eircom phone books for 2015/2016. This question has been downloaded from kildarestreet.com (original link here )

Parliamentary Questions: Appointments to State Boards

13th January, 2016 Question from Colm Keaveney TD 524. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the names of the persons he has nominated to serve in positions carrying remuneration, other than out-of-pocket expenses, on commissions, industrial, assurance, semi-State or other similar concerns; the amounts received annually in respect of each appointment; the name of the concern to which the appointment was made during the years 2011 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. Response from James Reilly, then Minister for Children As Minister I may nominate and appoint individuals to bodies within my Department's remit (subject to Government approval in certain circumstances) and nominate individuals to bodies under the remit of other Ministers. I have set out below relevant details since my appointment as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on 11th July 2014 and the respective remunerations. Adoption Authority of Ireland (nominated and appointed) Board Member    Annual Remuneration Dr. Geoffrey Shannon (Chair)    €63,120 Orlaith Traynor    €7,695 Paul Harrison    €7,695 Dr. Helen Buckley* Anne O'Flaherty    €7,695 Patrick McMahon    €7,695 Dr. Imelda Ryan    €7,695 * It should be noted that in line with the 'One Person One Salary' principle, no public servant is entitled to receive remuneration in the form of board fees, save for situations that are provided for in statute. Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters) -(nominated and appointed) Commissioners    Annual Remuneration Judge Yvonne Murphy (Chair)    €172,710 (High Court Judge equivalent remuneration) Professor Mary E. Daly     €585 per diem (approx. 110 days per annum) Dr. William Duncan    €585 per diem (approx 110 days per annum) This question has been downloaded from kildarestreet.com (original link here )

Parliamentary Questions: Public Inquiries

28th January 2016, Questions asked by Lucinda Creighton TD 227. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of tribunals of inquiry, commissions of inquiry or investigations for which he or his Department have been responsible by name; by terms of reference; by cost, including the cost to date where an inquiry has not been concluded; by date including the projected date of conclusion where an inquiry has not been concluded from 1991 to date, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. Response from James Reilly, then Minister for Children My Department was established on 2 June, 2011. There is one body of the type referred to in the question. Commissions of Investigation: 1 Name:    Commission of Investigation - Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters Terms of Reference:     Set out in the schedule to S.I. No. 57 of 2015 Cost to Date (to 26/01/2016):   €1.78 million (This includes set-up costs and costs incurred by DCYA in supporting the Commission) Projected Date of Conclusion:   The Commission is required to complete a final report not later than February 2018   This question has been downloaded from kildarestreet.com (original link here )

Parliamentary Questions: Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

22 March 2016, Questions asked by Maureen O'Sullivan TD 268. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the numbers of mixed-race Irish babies and children in the 16 mother and baby homes including St. Patrick's, Navan Road, Dublin 7; if St. Patrick's was the designated holding centre for all mixed-race Irish babies and children from across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Response from James Reilly, then Minister for Children The Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters) is tasked with thoroughly examining the experiences of mothers and children resident in these homes. With regard to the particular focus raised by the Deputy, the Commission will specifically examine whether any group of residents was systematically treated differently on any grounds, including that of race. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs does not have information on the numbers of mixed race children who may have been in the Mother and Baby Homes. There is no centralised records system for the fourteen (14) specified homes that are under investigation by the Commission but the Deputy may wish to note that certain records from several of these homes, including Saint Patrick's, are now in the possession of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I am satisfied that the Commission has sufficient scope and statutory power to access records and obtain the information necessary to make a determination on all relevant matters. Should the Deputy wish to contact the independent Commission directly it can be contacted at 73 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2, e-mail info@mbhcoi.ie or freephone 1800 806688.

This question has been downloaded from kildarestreet.com (original link here )

Parliamentary Questions: Garda Investigations

21st April 2016, Questions asked by Clare Daly, TD 42. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if a criminal investigation into allegations (details supplied) has been instigated by An Garda Síochána; if the Garda has taken possession of these files; if not, the reasons; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
 
43. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the Tuam, County Galway, site has not been cordoned off as a crime scene in view of the information in an article (details supplied).
 
Response from Minister Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 42 and 43 together.As the Deputy is aware, the instigation and management of any criminal investigation is a matter for the Garda authorities, as are any operational steps which might be taken in relation to the gathering and preservation of evidence. I hope the Deputy will appreciate that I have no role in this regard.The Deputy will also recall that in February 2015 the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs established a Commission of Investigation which has been tasked with thoroughly examining the experience of vulnerable mothers and children resident in Mother and Baby Homes during the period 1922 to 1998, including the arrangements for the placement of children, whether in Ireland or abroad. The work of this Commission is ongoing and the Commission has the necessary powers to comprehensively examine the broad range of public concerns that have been expressed in relation to Mother and Baby homes.

This question has been downloaded from kildarestreet.com (original link here )

TEST POST —Launch of Clann: Ireland’s Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering the Data

Launch of major project to assist with Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) and Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) are delighted to announce the launch of a major project in association with global law firm Hogan Lovells. The project, which will be known as Clann: Ireland’s Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering the Data (Clann), aims to provide free witness statement drafting assistance to enable individuals to make a comprehensive statement to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. Through the Clann project, which has been endorsed by Philomena Lee and her daughter Jane Libberton, JFMR and ARA wish to help ensure that the Commission of Investigation conducts the most comprehensive investigation possible and that it makes appropriate findings and recommendations. We believe that it is crucial that those who wish to give evidence to the Commission of Investigation have access to legal assistance at no cost. The assistance of a lawyer will enable people to make a comprehensive statement so that they are under less pressure while giving ‘live evidence’ to the Commission and will ensure that they can still give evidence to the Commission if they do not wish to do so in person. Everyone who compiles a witness statement with Hogan Lovells’ assistance will retain a copy of their witness statement and will be free to use it for any other purpose. The Clann project has also created a Guide to the Commission of Investigation as a resource for those who wish to engage with the Commission. It is intended that Clann will act as a parallel process to the Commission of Investigation, collating information regarding any of the 170 institutions, organisations, agencies and individuals which were involved with unmarried mothers and their children in 20th century Ireland. Although the Commission of Investigation is beginning its work by focusing on 14 Mother and Baby Homes and 4 County Homes, ARA and JFMR believe that if a thorough and transparent investigation is to be made, the Commission will include all relevant bodies. The Commission has statutory powers to request a widening of its focus and ARA and JFMR have made submissions in this regard to the Commission and have supplied the Commission with details of the 170+ bodies. Clann will anonymise donated statements gathered by Hogan Lovells and will gather documentary and archival materials from individuals who were affected by any of the 170+ institutions, organisations, agencies or individuals, in order to make a public group report to the Commission of Investigation, the Irish Government, and international human rights bodies. The Clann submission will also consider the various forms of redress that may be due to various individuals, including financial compensation and access to records. The witness statement gathering process forms part of a larger project to create a permanent archive of the experiences of Ireland’s unmarried mothers and their children via the Clann website. ARA and JFMR are concerned that the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related matters has no current plans to hold any public hearings or to allow public access (or access to those affected) to the documentary/archival evidence that it is considering. Clann aims to provide public access to as much non-sensitive documentary evidence as possible, in order to create public awareness of the Commission’s investigations, in the hope that members of the public will contribute documentary evidence to both the Commission and Clann, and so that individuals affected can comment on the evidence. The Clann website will act as a resource for individuals affected by the issues which will be available to the wider public for ongoing education and research. JFMR and ARA, along with Rod Baker who is heading up the project in Hogan Lovells will hold a Clann information session at the Adoption Rights Alliance Adoption Information Day at the Racket Hall Hotel, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary on 25th June 2016, beginning at 12pm. Philomena Lee and Jane Libberton will also be in attendance. Further information sessions will be held in Ireland, the UK and the US in due course.   Ends.