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Executive urged to move fast on inquiry into mother and baby homes scandal

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Sinead McLaughlin MLA

Sinead McLaughlin MLA

Eunan Duffy of the campaign group Truth Recovery NI

Eunan Duffy of the campaign group Truth Recovery NI

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Sinead McLaughlin MLA

The Stormont Executive must take urgent action to move towards a public inquiry into the mother and baby homes scandal.

Sinead McLaughlin, chair of the Assembly committee which monitors the Executive Office, said a decision must be made on appointing a lead civil servant as well as the structure and framework for the way forward.

Executive officials are due to appear before the scrutiny committee in the next few weeks after ministers were told they must “come down hard” on those who ran the homes.

SDLP Foyle MLA Ms McLaughlin said: “It is over to us and the Executive Office to make sure that we do you justice and that your truth is told.”

Her promise came as Eunan Duffy, of the campaign group Truth Recovery NI, said it was difficult to gauge how many victims of the institutions there are but there were estimates that 10,500 women went through the mother and baby homes.

“The problem is that no matter how many records and files you get to see, they are official records and are inaccurate. You will never get a proper account of how many people are affected,” he added.

“We saw records where adopted people and birth mothers were not recorded, whether in baptism registers or in parish registries, yet we know for an absolute fact that they were in those institutions.

“Even if you have seen a birth certificate, it does not mean that it is genuine and legitimate. It could have been falsified or forged, such was the extent of the criminality and falsifying of records here.”

Stormont ministers have already agreed to the urgent appointment of an independent panel of experts, likely to include victims, legislation for a public inquiry and to ensure access to official records for survivors and their families and immediate redress payments.

Ms McLaughlin told the witnesses: “You gave powerful testament about the atrocities that have scarred your lives and those of your families. As you say, inter-generational pain has occurred.

“The Executive Office needs to make important first moves.”


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