The Coalition of Mother and Baby Homes Survivors (CMABS) has issued a statement responding to the Irish government's newly-proposed redress scheme.
Ireland's Payment Scheme for Mother and Baby Home Survivors, published on November 17, will deliver redress based on how long a person was in an institution. Notably, children who were in an institution for less than six months do not qualify for redress.
Responding to the scheme, CMABS said in a statement on December 3 that its community has been "further traumatized by the Government's short-sighted and cack-handed fumbling of a deeply sensitive issue, namely the matter of redress and justice for survivors of Mother and Baby Homes and County Homes.
"Any scheme that willfully excludes a large proportion of our community is doomed to failure and is further pouring salt into an open wound."
CMABS says that one of the fundamental failures of the scheme "is that it entirely ignores the single most painful trauma inflicted by the so-called Mother and Baby Homes ... the forced separation of a mother and her baby."
CMABS accuses the government of "ignoring the real issues," particularly:
- All records of adoptions/personal records remain sealed.
- The religious orders of nuns are once again escaping scot-free from their legal and moral responsibilities.
- The ongoing scandal of Ireland's illegal adoptions involving thousands, if not tens of thousands, of victims of criminal acts, is being swept under the rug.
- There is NO difference whatsoever whether a mother and her child are separated at two days old or two weeks or months or years. While there are variations of trauma, the pain is always a life sentence.
- There is no 'hierarchy of pain'. A 'one size fits all' redress scheme is doomed not only to failure but will re-traumatize the living survivor community. Furthermore, any scheme that excludes any section of the community no matter how small, will inflict new pain as well as reopen old wounds.
- The specific needs and experiences of Ireland's mixed-race survivors have been entirely ignored.
- The unique situation and urgent needs of Ireland's elderly and dying Protestant/Bethany home survivors have been ignored and the notorious Westbank home in Greystones which was essentially part of the Bethany home has been ignored in yet another inquiry.
Paul Jude Redmond (CMABS and The Castlepollard Mother and Baby Home Group) said: "Yet another Government and Minister for Children has utterly failed the Mother and Baby Homes survivor community.
"Clearly, the numerous political promises poured out after the release of the long-delayed inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes to include survivors at the heart of any redress scheme were empty, worthless promises.
"We're going to send the Minister a packet of cotton earbuds for Christmas so he can clean out his ears and start listening to us for a change."
Clodagh Malone (Beyond Adoption Ireland and CMABS) said: "We may think we are done with the past but the past is not done with us."
Theresa Hiney Tinggal (Adopted Illegally Ireland and CMABS) said: "It's irrelevant if a baby has no memory of being in a home during the first six months of its life. Babies need hugs and love for their emotional development and if not has lasting negative effects in the long term. These type of comments are ludicrous and undermines what survivors went through.
"Importantly, during a Dáil debate early this year, it was alleged that files pertaining to illegal adoptions were not shared with subsequent Ministers. Why is this not being investigated rather than ignored?"
The Coalition of Mother And Baby Home Survivors (CMABS), whose motto is “no one gets left behind,” is an umbrella group consisting of Adoption Rights Now; The Bethany Home Survivors; Beyond Adoption Ireland; Adopted Illegally Ireland; and The Castlepollard Mother and Baby Home Group.
CMABS works in association with the Association of Mixed Race Irish and Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse and in partnership with the Adoption Coalition Worldwide.