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Ó Murchú accuses Government of failing those in Mother and Baby Homes

Ó Murchú accuses Government of failing those in Mother and Baby Homes

Louth Sinn Féin TDs Ruairí Ó Murchú and Imelda Munster were among the 67 Oireachtas members who voted against the sealing of the Mother and Baby home records last week.

Speaking in Leinster House during the debate, Deputy Ó Murchú said: “Mother and baby homes are part of a long history in this State. Not only did we fail women and children, but we also set up structures that attacked them, sold them, neglected them, abused them and much more. 

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the women who came forward to the commission as witnesses. The State owes a debt to the women. We need to repay this with justice and compassion. We are talking about a State that put the women and their families through hell. 

“The great and the good, the politicians and all the institutions of the State protected this apparatus. 

“I heard many testimonies today, and all of them are absolutely heart-breaking and gut-wrenching.

“What we do not need to do is retraumatise them. We need to find a solution that means we do not seal away the witness statements. I accept that we need solutions on anonymisation. 

“That can be done but what we need to do at this point is put in place a stopgap measure. We need to legislate to give ourselves time to have an all-party solution and deal with the stakeholders, the heroic women, some of whom have led dreadful lives because they were put upon by this State. 

“I cannot state enough that we owe them a debt. We must show compassion and sensitivity and we cannot fail them once again. They are not happy that Tusla is to be the repository of the witness statements. We need to ensure a solution that offers them justice and gives them the respect they deserve.”

Sinn Féin spokesperson Kathleen Funchion TD has written to the Data Protection Commissioner after reports that the government has contravened European and Irish law regarding the accessibility of personal data by voting to seal the records of the Mother and Baby Homes.

Deputy Ó Murchú said: “The vote this week was an abject failure of survivors and we remain focused on a solution which provides them with the compassion, justice and fairness they deserve.”