VICTIMS and survivors need to be “placed first and foremost” in the week that the Mother and Baby Homes Commission’s Report is published, according to Waterford TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh (GP).
Commenting on leaks of elements of the report, which featured in The Sunday Independent, Deputy Ó Cathasaigh stated: “The primary focus of my colleague Minister (for Children) Roderic O’Gorman who is the Minister for Children was the victims and survivors and they should have been the first to have seen the content of this report. The Minister had a timetable set out for informing them in such a way that they would have been as well prepared as possible, as well as support systems for people affected.”
He continued: “I am both angry and disappointed that someone chose to release this information before the victims and survivors read it and I welcome the news that Minister O’Gorman has started an investigation into how such sensitive details from the report came into the public domain. He will be raising the matter with Government.”
Regarding the report itself, Deputy Ó Cathasaigh said that the public will not be familiar with much of the detail that it contains.
“It will be especially relevant for us here in Waterford given that the Good Shepherd Convent was one of the institutions involved and there will be many Waterford people affected by the launch of this report. There will be victims who passed through the Good Shephard and also victims who now reside in Waterford but who will have passed through another institution. There will be extended families who have lost loved ones who passed through an institution as either a mother or a baby and the launch of this report will reopen wounds for them. This is an extremely difficult period in our history as a State and will not reflect well on the Ireland of the past.”
“A framework of supports”
Marc Ó Cathasaigh said a framework of supports has been put in place for victims, survivors and their families “and I would urge anyone affected to avail of these services. There will be a counselling service, information service and there is also a HSE webpage with information for former residents. In addition, the HSE are providing mental health supports to former residents. If you would require any information on any of the services available, please contact my office at [email protected].”
Meanwhile, Barnardos Post Adoption Service is to extend its confidential and professionally staffed support line – (01) 4546388, 9:30am to 4:30pm – from tomorrow, Tuesday, January 12.
Said Bardardos Post Adoption Service Leader Christine Hennessy: “The launch of this long-awaited report will cause distress and pain to many people around the country. Aspects of the report plus the delay in the Information and Tracing Legislation is causing a lot of worry and anxiety for many at this time. We want them to know that we are here.” Barnardos can also be contacted by email on [email protected].
Meanwhile, a five session series of online support meetings for adopted adults titled ‘Exploring Adoption’ will be available from March 4 and can be accessed at http://bit.ly/Exploring_Adoption. In addition, an online support meeting for birthmothers will take place in February.
To date, the Justice For Magdalene Research Group (JFMR )has recorded the names of 105 women and girls who died at the Good Shepherd. They are buried at Ballygunner Cemetery and in a graveyard adjacent to the former laundry on the Cork Road. To find out more, visit http://jfmresearch.com/home/preserving-magdalene-history/waterford/