Organisation seeks support and inclusion for those who did not participate in Commission of Investigation due to its “limited remit”
Aitheantas, the adoptee identity rights organisation, has called on the Government to ensure free mental health supports are available to all adoptees, birth parents and survivors of Mother and Baby Homes this week, as the final report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation is published.
Commenting today (11.01.21), Maree Ryan-O’Brien, founder of Aitheantas, said: “The mental health supports currently in place only cover the survivors of institutions that fell under the remit of the Commission of Investigation. But the Commission’s remit was limited: it did not cover all Mother and Baby Homes, and hundreds of adoptees and birth parents were unable to participate in the investigation as a result.
“For any adoptee, birth parent or survivor of a Mother and Baby Home, this week is going to be traumatic. This is coming at a time when the general population is already experiencing mental health challenges, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the re-instigation of ‘lockdown’ measures. We knew the publication of the Commission’s final report would be distressing for all survivors, but this has now been compounded by the advance leaking of details of the report.
“Whether the particular home they were in is covered by the Commission of Investigation or not, survivors need to know there are mental health supports available to them. We are asking the Government to ensure that there will be.”
Ms. Ryan-O’Brien said the leaking of details of the Commission’s final report over the weekend had caused unnecessary upset.
“The leak was appalling,” she said. “Adoptees, birth parents and survivors see their lives and stories being once again used as a commodity and we would ask that Minister O’Gorman and An Taoiseach fully investigate the matter.”
She also called for the Government to include all survivors of all Mother and Baby Homes in future consultations.
“We view the final report of the Commission as the beginning of a process, not the end,” she said. “We want a full investigation into adoption practices, including how adoptees have been treated within the current system provided by the State through agencies such as the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla. We also want full engagement with the Minister and his Department regarding restorative legislation that will allow adoptees, in particular, to have full autonomy over their own identity and their own information.
“We want the Minister to outline how exactly he proposes that adoptees, birth parents and survivors who could not participate in the Commission due to its limited remit can now be given pathways of inclusion. It would be unacceptable to us to have any further steps taken in this process without the full participation of all stakeholders directly affected by this issue.”