update 16th november 2021
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update 12th november 2021
Claire McGettrick and Maeve O’Rourke, on behalf of the Clann Project, said:
A key question is whether the government will learn from the shortcomings of the Magdalene Laundries scheme. The ‘enhanced healthcare’ must be in the form of the full HAA card recommended for Magdalene survivors by Mr Justice John Quirke in 2013. This card has never been given to Magdalene survivors, many of whom are in desperate need of health and social care services. This should be rectified and all survivors of the institutions given the full breadth of HAA benefits.
The scheme has to be inclusive of all those affected and under no circumstances should it replicate the deeply flawed conclusions of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.
As part of redress, the government should attach a statement to the Commission of Investigation report, clarifying that the government has not accepted the Commission’s findings due to grave concerns regarding its methods.
Redress also means access to records. The government and numerous agencies continue to misinterpret GDPR, withholding basic identity information from people without legal basis and without demonstrating the necessity and proportionality of doing so.
Redress also means inquests into the disappearance of thousands of children and hundreds of women. The Attorney General has the power immediately to order inquests. The government claims to need new legislation to excavate institutional gravesites. But there is already the power and obligation under existing coronial law to exhume bodies and examine them, and to investigate causes of death in state care.
Citizenship rights must be given to people who were removed from the jurisdiction as children.
As the UN Committee against Torture has told the government in the case of Elizabeth Coppin v Ireland, acceptance of a payment must not preclude the right to take further legal action. Forcing people to waive their legal rights to accountability, as the government has done through previous schemes, is not an acceptable or human rights-compliant practice.
We reiterate that the Commission of Investigation’s remit was extremely limited: it investigated only a fraction of the institutions, agencies and individuals involved in forcibly separating unmarried families. The government’s scheme must go beyond the confines of the Commission’s terms of reference.
1. Our recommendations on the Restorative Recognition Scheme
2. Our joint submissions on GDPR to the Oireachtas Justice Committee
3. Our submissions on the birth information and tracing bill
4. Our joint submissions on the Institutional Burials Bill