25th June 2021

Our 6th remote show of the year started with the controversy over the report from the Commission of Investigations into the Mother and Baby homes which came into the public domain in recent months. This discussion was prompted by Dr. Maeve O’Rourke’s, the Director of Human Rights Law Clinic at the Irish Centre for Human Rights and lecturer at NUI Galway, call on the government to repudiate the findings of the report following the disclosure by the member of the Commission, Professor Mary Daly early in the week at an academic gathering in Oxford, of the rationale for not including the voices of the victims and in particular their stories in the report.

She put it down to the terms of reference of the commission and placed particular emphasis on the fact that the testimony, which had been given by some 550 survivors, was not sworn testimony under oath and therefore could not be used. Seamus Gunn reminded Greg Hughes that the Oireachtas committee had been attempting for some time to have the members of the commission appear before it to answer questions on the report. He said that it showed a lack of sensitivity to the survivors who had gone to great pains to tell their story and had hoped that they would now be recorded in the report. He thought that it was unacceptable for Professor Daly to address this outside the jurisdiction. He also explained that under the legislation that had set up the commission there was an onus that the report should have been circulated to the survivors for their observations before it was finalised as it was to the religious orders but that this had not happened. He said that there was an “inequality of arms” in that those against whom wrongdoing was alleged had full legal representation, while survivors had none. He said notwithstanding this, they had appeared before the commission in good faith with the hope of bringing some finality to the enquiry which has been ongoing for some 6 years. Greg Hughes asked as to what the likely outcome was going forward to which our contributor thought that it was further delay and at best a repudiation of the report, which would be a step in the right direction. He was of the view that this matter will gain further traction in the media as the pressure builds to appear before the Oireachtas committee. 

One of our most varied Q & A to date this year then followed.

Listen to the full interview below:

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