The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors (CMABS) was informed on October 9 that their petition to the European Parliament has been declared to be admissible.
The matter has now been forwarded to the European Commission with a request that they conduct a preliminary investigation of the issue, CMABS said in a statement circulated on October 9.
The Coalition has additionally been informed that their petition has also been referred to the European Parliament Coordinator on Children’s Rights.
The Petition set out the treatment meted out to the Mothers and Babies in the Mother and Baby Homes, the forcible adoptions from the homes, the falsification of birth certificates, and the situation as regards the Protestant Bethany Mother and Baby Home. It further deals with the State's failure to give the survivors a public apology and redress.
The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors urges the Irish Government as strongly as they can to cooperate with the investigation to be carried out by the European Commission.
In a statement, Paul Jude Redmond (Castepollard Mother and Baby Home group, CMABS) said: "We are delighted that the European Parliament has decided to recognise our appalling treatment at the hands of successive Irish Governments who have stalled on real action and given us the runaround over the past 5 years.”
Redmond additionally told Irish radio program Midlands 103: “It’s the first time we’ve really gone outside of Ireland looking for help, and we got it first time which is brilliant.
“There’s a huge sense of relief within the community because we’ve just had five years of broken promises and being given the run-around. It’s just been appalling for the last five years since Minister Reilly left office as Minister for Children.
“We’re very hopeful for some forward momentum at this stage.”
Clodagh Malone (Beyond Adoption Ireland, Saint Patrick's Mother and Baby Home group, CMABS) said: "We may think we're finished with Ireland's past but the past is not finished with us.”
David Kinsella (CMABS) said: "Ireland's survivor community is aging and dying on a daily basis. We need Justice now!"
The Coalition of Mother And Baby home Survivors (CMABS) is a loose umbrella group that came together in late 2013 and is regarded as by far the largest representative group of survivors. The group's motto is: “No one gets left behind.”
CMABS is joined in equal partnership by Survivors And Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA) and The Association of Mixed Race Irish, and is supported by The Adoption Coalition Worldwide.
In August, as CMABS prepared to submit its petition, the group said in a statement issued to the Westmeath Examiner: “It is now well over five years since justice was promised by the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
"An inquiry announced in 2015 was scheduled to report in a maximum of three years, yet over five years later, it too has requested extension after extension, all of which have been granted by uncaring governments and Ministers.
"Survivors, meanwhile, have watched in dismay as their fellow survivors have passed away without seeing justice, apologies, or redress. Nor are these the only issues where justice has been denied.
"There are several ongoing scandals regarding thousands of illegal adoptions in Ireland's dark past but these matters have been wilfully excluded from the current never-ending Inquiry in favour of pointless and unrepresentative talking shops.
“..We are not going away and CMABS and our legal advisors are currently preparing cases for the European courts and exploring all other avenues to finally get justice."
The news that the petition from CMABS has been deemed admissible by the European Parliament comes just days after TD Roderic O'Gorman, Ireland's Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth, received Government approval for the text of the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) Records Bill 2020 on October 6.
The Bill deals with the arrangements for the transfer and management of the records of the Commission of investigation upon its dissolution. These records include databases and related information on the mothers and children who were residents in the main mother and baby homes, which have been compiled by the Commission of Investigation in the course of its work.
Minister O'Gorman said: “The Commission is shortly due to complete its comprehensive five year investigation into the treatment of vulnerable woman and children who passed through these institutions over more than three quarters of a century.
“When the Commission deposits its records, along with its final report into these matters, with me by the 30 October, this new legislation will ensure that the archive of records and databases compiled by the Commission will be appropriately protected. There is an absolute urgency to safeguarding the Commission’s database in the immediate term, and I welcome the support of my Government colleagues in this matter.”
Also on October 6, Michelle O'Neill, the First Deputy of Northern Ireland, announced that Fiona Ryan had been appointed as the Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse in the region:
We have appointed a Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse
Today belongs to victims & survivors
I want to pay tribute to your collective will, determination & resilience over many years
Victims & survivors must never be silenced again. We will support you. pic.twitter.com/sBK9jhYXFj— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) October 6, 2020