News & Media

Enhanced medical cards must be presented to all survivors of Mother and Baby Homes

23 February 2021

Statement by Seán Sherlock TD
Parliamentary Party Chair and Spokesperson on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands; Agriculture and the Marine
  • Sherlock submits amendment to issue enhanced medical card to all survivors who presented to ‘Mother & Baby Homes’ for any length of time; including while pregnant or on a post-natal basis.

Labour social protection spokesperson Seán Sherlock TD has tabled an amendment requesting that enhanced medical cards be provided to all survivors of Mother and Baby Homes – not just those who spent six months in an institution as proposed by Government. Ahead of the Private Members’ Motion to extend the Commission of Investigation into the Mother and Baby Homes, Deputy Sherlock highlighted the need for implementation of practical support measures for all survivors of theses institutions.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“Labour is supporting the Social Democrat’s motion on Mother and Baby Homes tomorrow. There is an onus on us as politicians to do what is right for survivors of institutional abuse in this country and I hope that through robust debate in the Dáil, we can grant some degree of clarity to survivors regarding the future of the Commission and the matters relating to the destruction of their testimony.

“However what we need now is action so survivors so can rebuild their lives. I have engaged in a process of listening over the last month, and one means of redressing the harm caused would be the provision of an enhanced medical card for anyone who spent a moment in such an institution. I continue to hear from women who have significant gynaecological complications arising from their stay in mother and baby homes who need enhanced medical cards. However, because they spent less than six months in a Home, they won’t be eligible. The six-month rule applied by the Minister seems arbitrary and inherently unfair.

“Extending the medical card to all survivors would be a meaningful and practical gesture by the State and would represent a step in rebuilding confidence. We are all still digesting the 3,000 page report by the Commission, and tomorrow’s discussion in the Dáil will be important to robustly examine possibilities for the extension of the Commission’s remit. Attention must now turn to practical supports for survivors. The Government must focus on implementing the recommendations made by the Commission, including the provision of medical cards to all survivors. I would also encourage all parties to support my colleague’s, Senator Ivana Bacik, legislation on the right to information and tracing for adopted persons and do right by survivors.”