KRW WELCOMES PANEL RECOMMENDATIONS ON MOTHER AND BABY HOMES
KRW LAW LLP (KRW) represents a number of victims and survivors of Northern Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes, Magdalene Laundries and Factory/Industrial Schools.
These include our client Marie Arbuckle Marie was just 18 when she gave birth to her son Paul at the St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home in Dublin in March 1981. Brought up in care in the North, she was sent to the home to give birth to her son who was then forcibly removed from her.
Earlier this year KRW made extensive submissions to the Truth Design Recovery Panel, tasked by the Inter-Department Working Group established by the Department of Health, to examine institutional abuse in Northern Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes, Magdalene Laundries and Factory/Industrial Schools following the publication of research in January by academics from QUB and the University of Ulster.
Our submissions argued the need for a human rights compliant statutory inquiry with extensive powers to compel witness and evidence, with victim and survivor centred safe participation, and with authority to make recommenations to the Stormont Executive for a scheme of redress and reparation.
Today we welcome the recommendations of the Panel in establishing an “integrated investigation” by a non-statutory independent panel informing a statutory public inquiry. There are also further recommendations for supporting measures to ensure that victims and survivors can participate in the investigation, including access to records legislation.
The Truth Recovery Design Panel recommends:
- Urgent appointment of a non-statutory independent panel of experts, including those with personal experience
- Legislation to appoint a statutory public inquiry
- New legislation to secure access to records for survivors and their families
- Immediate redress payments from the beginning of the investigation
The Panel asks that “all state, religious and other institutions, agencies, organisations and individuals complicit in the processes of institutionalisation and forced labour, family separation and adoption to act without delay in issuing unqualified apologies”. Further, that they said that they should clearly state their role, “accept responsibility for harms done; demonstrate sincerity in their apology; and demonstrate the safeguards now in place to ensure there will be no repetition of the inhumanity and suffering to which they contributed”.
Owen Beattie, Associate Solicitor, KRW said:
“’This is a momentous day for survivors of these so called ‘Homes’. The Panel’s seismic recommendations bring long overdue acknowledgment of their pain and suffering as well as offering a totally victim–centred process to help bring closure. Significantly it cites interim redress which has never happened here before. To that end it puts this jurisdiction on a par with other countries.”