Survivors can’t wait until the end of 2021 for Information and Tracing Legislation
13 January 2021
Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration
- Proper, robust and effective information and tracing legislation must be published as soon as possible.
- A timeline must be provided for survivors, legislators and civil society to appraise the Bill.
- The State’s reponse to the Report must be survivor-led.
A day after the publication of the Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, Labour Spokesperson for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Senator Ivana Bacik has expressed concern at the Government’s indication that legislation to provide for Information and Tracing may not be published until the end of the year.
Senator Bacik said:
“Today, as more and more harrowing details from the Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes emerge, my sympathies are with survivors of Mother and Baby Homes and County Homes and their families, many of whom have expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of the report and the Government response.
“It is of vital importance now that their voices are heard, and that the Government acts swiftly to ensure justice for survivors. I hope and expect that a survivor-led approach will be adopted as the recommendations are implemented.
“I was surprised and concerned to hear this morning that the Government does not plan on publishing legislation to provide for information and tracing for survivors until as late as the end of 2021. Frankly, this is not good enough. I am calling on Minister O’Gorman to prioritise bringing forward this legislation as soon as possible; to provide a timeline for its passage; and to commit to providing sufficient time for parliamentary scrutiny and consultation with survivors. A great deal of work has already been done by previous Ministers on the formulation of information and tracing legislation and it should be possible to bring forward this bill much more swiftly, so that we would at least see an outline of its provisions more swiftly.
“I urge the Government to engage with survivor groups immediately, and to develop the remainder of its response in consultation with them. Any apology must be accompanied by tangible steps to provide redress and to hold those responsible accountable. Survivors must be heard, having been silenced for so long. Importantly, those responsible for constructing and maintaining this system of institutional abuse must be held to account.”