Clann project launches short films in advance of Commission of Investigation closing date

In June 2016, Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) and Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) launched Clann: Ireland’s Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering the Data (Clann) [http://www.clannproject.org], which is a joint initiative with global law firm, Hogan Lovells. Clann is assisting individuals affected by or involved with the treatment of unmarried mothers and their children to provide evidence to the ongoing Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters.

Clann has launched a number of short films, explaining the purpose of the project and how to participate. One of Clann’s short films features natural mother Philomena Lee and her daughter Jane Libberton. Philomena spent three and a half years with her son in the Sacred Heart home at Sean Ross Abbey before he was adopted to America. Philomena and Jane have strongly encouraged those affected by Ireland’s treatment of unmarried mothers and their children to give evidence to the Commission and to participate in the Clann project.

JFMR and ARA encourage those who may wish to meet with the Commission of Investigation’s Confidential Committee to do so as soon as possible, as the closing date for applications to meet the Confidential Committee is 1st March 2017. It is not clear from the Commission’s website whether there is a deadline for its Investigation Committee, however JFMR and ARA strongly encourage those who wish to meet with either committee to register their interest as soon as possible. Contact details for the Commission of Investigation are available in the Notes to Editors below. JFMR and ARA also wish to remind witnesses that if they wish, they may simply to send their statements to the Commission but not give ’live evidence’ in person. In this instance, the statement will need to be attached to an affidavit and sworn in front of a solicitor.

In association with Hogan Lovells, JFMR and ARA are offering free witness statement-drafting assistance through Clann to anyone, living anywhere in the world, who has experience of Ireland’s treatment of unmarried mothers and their children (including adult adopted people). The assistance is not limited to the list of 18 institutions initially being investigated by the Commission. Where witnesses are invited to meet the Commission’s Investigation Committee in person, Clann will also endeavour to obtain free legal representation for those individuals if they wish.

Witnesses may choose to share their statements with Clann, however this is entirely optional. Clann will anonymise shared statements and use extracts from them, alongside archival material, to make a public group report to the Commission of Investigation, the Irish Government, and international human rights bodies. 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. 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.

If witnesses have already given evidence to the Commission, they are still welcome to participate in the Clann project. Additional details may come to mind during the interview with Hogan Lovells and in this instance the witness may wish to send the statement into the Commission, to add to the evidence they have already submitted. They may also find it helpful to have a written statement for safe-keeping or future use, even if they have already been to the Commission of Investigation. In addition, if the witness consents to their statement being used by ARA and JFMR, their information could greatly assist the ARA and JFMR group submissions.

Ends.

Notes to editors:

Clann Contact Details: info@clannproject.org

Clann Information Pack: http://clannproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Clann-Information-Pack.zip

Clann Short Films:

Commission of Investigation Contact Details:

  • Address: 73 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2, D02 N773 or PO Box 12626, Dublin 2
  • Email: info@mbhcoi.ie
  • Confidential Freephone:
    ROI only: 1800 80-66-88
    Outside ROI:+353-1-6445088
    Telephone:+353-1-6445000
    Fax: +353-1-6445002

Justice for Magdalenes Research and Adoption Rights Alliance joint statement on publication of Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation Interim Report

Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) and Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) are concerned that witnesses who have given evidence to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes are not aware of the Commission’s procedures, in particular, that the Commission has two separate Committees.

We welcome that the Confidential Committee wants to take the time to meet all of the people who have expressed an interest in sharing their experiences. However, we are concerned that the Commission is not sufficiently advertising the existence or procedures of its Investigation Committee. Only the Investigation Committee will make specific findings in relation to any wrongful treatment of unmarried mothers and their children by institutions or individuals. We encourage the Commission to be proactive in inviting people to give evidence to the Investigation Committee and to explain to those affected the different powers of both Committees. JFMR and ARA have discovered that people who thought they had made a submission for the purpose of the Commission’s Investigation had in fact just met with the Confidential Committee.

We also welcome the Commission’s expressed desire that its social history module is comprehensive. If this is to be achieved, we expect that the Commission will meet its terms of reference by extending this social history report to all (170+) institutions, agencies and individuals which were involved with the treatment of unmarried mothers, and not just the limited group of 18 institutions which the Commission is initially investigating. The Commission’s terms of reference require that the social history module examine the treatment of unmarried mothers and their children generally.

We continue to recommend that the government widen the Commission’s Terms of Reference so that it has the ability to investigate allegations of abuse concerning any of the 170+ institutions, agencies and individuals involved in the treatment of unmarried mothers and their children. If the Commission’s Investigation continues to be confined to a list of 18 institutions, it will not be possible for it to make comprehensive findings and recommendations and the majority of people affected by the issue will not have the opportunity to be heard.

In the meantime, ARA and JFMR encourage witnesses affected by any of the 170+ institutions, agencies and individuals to avail of free statement drafting assistance under the Clann project (http://www.clannproject.org), which was recently launched by ARA and JFMR, in association with global law firm Hogan Lovells. Clann can assist witnesses to submit their statements to the Commission and will accept statements from those who wish to share their testimony with the project. Clann will anonymise shared 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 witness statement gathering process forms part of a larger project to create a comprehensive, permanent archive of the experiences of Ireland’s unmarried mothers and their children via the Clann website.

The Clann project has also created a Guide to the Commission of Investigation, which includes information on the differences between the Confidential Committee and the Investigation Committee. The Guide will now be updated with new information contained in the Commission’s first interim report.

As the first interim report of the Commission has been published just after the Dáil has broken for the summer recess we ask that time be allocated on the resumption of the Dáil for the report to be debated in both Houses.

We are also concerned that there is a lack of awareness of the Commission’s work, particularly among the diaspora, and we also therefore urge the Commission to increase its advertising of both the Investigation Committee and Confidential Committee processes both within and outside of Ireland.

Ends/

Notes to editors

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/

 

Commission of Investigation Publishes Interim Report

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes has published its first interim report. In the report, the Commission requested an extension of its timeframe for the publication of the Report of the Confidential Committee and the Report of the Academic Social History module. All three reports (including that of the Investigation Committee) are now due to be published in February 2018.

Click here to download the Interim Report from the Commission of Investigation

Click here to download the government FAQ document on the decision to extend the timeframe for the Commission’s Reports

Click here to download press release from Minister for Children, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD

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 )