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Irish Survivors Information
Many survivors of residential institutions in Ireland live in Britain, and with support from the Emigrant Support Programme, Irish community organisations are expanding and coordinating services to support those affected.
Survivors in Britain
Irish in Britain recognises that Britain is home to significant numbers of survivors from institutions in Ireland: 37 percent of those who gave evidence to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) lived in the UK compared to 58 percent of presentations from Ireland (Higgins 2010). These survivors have an average age of 69 years old.
The Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was published on 12 January 2021. You can read the full report HERE.
Irish in Britain has asked that a cross–departmental approach to the welfare of survivors extends beyond Ireland especially to Britain because so many survivors live here and we have also requested equivalence for survivors based in Britain in any proposed provision or consideration of ongoing and future needs.
Important new information relating to Mother and Baby Homes
Access to birth and early life information is changing in Ireland. Read about it here in this new pamphlet.
Action Plan and Payment scheme for survivors published November 2021
The Irish government published an Action Plan for Survivors and Former Residents of Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions and a Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme in November 2021. The Payment Scheme will operate as follows:
All mothers who spent time in a Mother and Baby Institution will be eligible for a payment, increasing based on their length of stay.
All children who spent six months or more in an institution, and did not receive redress for that institution under the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme (RIRS), will be eligible for payment based on their length of stay.
There will also be an additional, work-related payment for women who were resident in certain institutions for more than three months and who undertook what might be termed commercial work.
An enhanced medical card will be available to everybody who was resident in a Mother and Baby or County Home Institution for six months or more.
Applicants will qualify solely based on proof of residency, without a need to bring forward any evidence of abuse nor any medical evidence. In certain limited circumstances, sworn affidavits may be required.
Those survivors and former residents now living overseas will qualify for a payment on the same terms as individuals living in Ireland, and will have the choice to receive an enhanced medical card or a once-off payment in lieu of the card as a contribution towards their individual health needs.
Full details of the Payment Scheme can be found HERE and many questions about the scheme are answered HERE.
Full details of the Action Plan, and answers to some frequently asked questions can be found HERE.
Many of our members provide a range of support services for survivors including supporting access to housing services, benefits advice etc although a number have reported concerns that their staff members feel ill–equipped to deal with the presentation of often complex needs. This is of concern given the absence of any dedicated welfare services for survivors in Britain. Survivors are an ageing population and many in Britain report poor physical health including mobility problems, long–term conditions including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Awareness of the existence of, or needs of, survivors is low amongst British mainstream statutory services and many survivors struggle to engage with much needed health care and wraparound services.
GSK Pharma Ireland letter - 1 September 2021
In a letter to advocacy groups in response to issues raised in the Commission of Investigation's report GSK wrote "We have simplified our information request service and published trial summary documents for each of the trials. Full details of how to access the information service and the trial summary documents are now available on www.gsk.ie/mother-and-baby-homes. The full letter can be read HERE.
BACKGROUND to the Committee of Investigation
The CICA was established in 1999 and reported in 2009. The report estimated that in the period from 1936 to 1970, a total of 170,000 children and young persons (involving about 1.2 percent of the age cohort) entered the gates of the 50 or so industrial schools in the Irish Republic. Grounds of entry included poverty, being “needy”, death of parents, involvement in a criminal offence or school non–attendance.
Through meetings with Irish welfare and support organisations within our membership the evidence suggests significant populations of survivors in London, Manchester and Birmingham with smaller numbers dispersed across Britain.
The commission heard 1,090 witness reports. More than 50 percent first admitted under the age of five years, 90 percent reported physical abuse and 50 percent reported sexual abuse. Neglect was also common, often in the context of abuse. The Irish state initially envisaged a compensation scheme would follow the work of the Commission. During the early stages of the commission, it became clear that the investigation Committee would not be able to function unless a compensation scheme was initiated. The Irish government decided to proceed with the establishment of a Redress Board. The Redress Board was set up under the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002, to make “fair and reasonable awards to persons, who as children, were abused in industrial schools, reformatories and other institutions subject to state regulation and inspection”. Between 2002 and 2012, the Board processed more than 15,000 applications.
The Residential Institutions Statutory Fund was established in March 2013 and became known as Caranua later that year. Caranua is an independent state body set up to help people who, as children, experienced abuse in residential institutions in Ireland and have received settlements, Redress Board or Court awards. Caranua oversees the use of funds of €110 million pledged by the religious congregations who had been responsible for running the institutions. It is due to close in August 2019.
PAST UPDATES ON ISSUES RELATING TO MOTHER AND BABY HOMES
Roderic O’Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth announced that it was his intention “to publish the final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes on the week commencing January 11th, 2021”.
He went on to say, “On the same day, I will be bringing forward a Memorandum seeking approval to proceed with the Certain Historic Burials (Authorised Interventions) Bill, which will allow for exhumation and dignified reburial of the site at Tuam. Pending Cabinet approval, this Bill will then proceed through the Oireachtas.
“In line with the commitments made to former residents and their families, it is important that you are the first to be notified of the plans to publish the report and how to access it.
“As required, on the week of January 11th, I will be bringing forward a Memorandum to Cabinet seeking approval to publish the final Report, and the Commission’s Sixth Interim report. After the Cabinet meeting, An Taoiseach and I will host an online presentation for former residents to outline some of the key findings from the Report, along with details of the initial Government response.
“Publication of this Report will be a landmark moment for the many thousands of former residents, their families and advocates, in particular those who directly contributed to the Commission’s work by sharing their deeply personal and lived experiences. The Report is nearly 3,000 pages long with individual chapters for each of the institutions and specific issues which the Commission was tasked with examining.”
Details will be provided closer to the publication date of the time and date with links to allow survivors and families to connect to the event and access the Report”.
The Government Press Office released a statement on 29 October 2020 ahead of the publication of the Seventh Interim Report after a vote the previous week on records gathered by the Commission of Investigation. It is available here.
Minister Katherine Zappone launched a grant scheme to support commemorative events related to Mother and Child Institutions and County Homes in March 2020. Read more here.
Dr Geoffrey Shannon’s Report on the Collection of Tuam Survivors’ DNA was published on 11 September 2019. You can download it here.
Recommendations of the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes
LINKS TO ORGANISATIONS THAT OFFER, OR POINT TO, SUPPORT
Connect Counselling is an organisation based in Ireland that offers a freephone service: 00800 477 477 77.
’Connect is a free telephone counselling and support service for any adult who has experienced abuse, trauma or neglect in childhood. You can talk in confidence with a trained counsellor who can listen or help with questions you have.’
My Data Rights works to help survivors of Irish industrial and reformatory schools use the GDPR in order to gain access to their personal information. The website contains downloadable guides and template letters for requesting personal data and for complaining to the Data Protection Commission if necessary.
This is a project of the Human Rights Law Clinic at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway.
NATIONAL COUNSELLING SERVICE IN IRELAND
For anyone who feels they may need professional counselling support, the HSE National Counselling Service is available from Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 5pm. Details of the National Counselling Service and contact details for each area are listed below.
CHO Area 1
Donegal, Sligo & Leitrim
1800 234 119
CHO Area 2
Galway, Mayo & Roscommon
1800 234 114
CHO Area 3
Limerick, Clare & North Tipperary
1800 234 115
CH Cork, Kerry
Cork & Kerry
1800 234 116
CHO Area 5
Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow & South Tipperary
1800 234 118
South Dublin, South East Dublin & East Wicklow
1800 234 111
CH Dublin South, Kildare & West Wicklow
South West Dublin, Kildare & West Wicklow
1800 234 112
CHO Area 8
Midlands: Laois, Offaly, Longford & Westmeath
1800 234 113
CHO Area 1/8
Louth, Meath, Cavan & Monaghan
1800 234 117
CHO Area 9
Dublin North & Dublin North City
1800 234 110
A new webpage with information specifically for former residents of Mother and Baby Homes has been set up HERE.
Connect Counselling: Outside of these hours, Connect Counselling provides telephone support. Anyone affected can also directly contact the CONNECT free telephone out of hours telephone counselling and support service where they can talk in confidence with a trained counsellor. This service is generally available between 6pm and 10pm Wednesday through to Sunday on 1800 477 477.
Do you need to talk to someone now? Free call Samaritans 116 123 or Text YMH to 50808
(Messaging Support Service).
Additional mental health supports provided/funded by the HSE are also available to former residents. Details of these supports are available on www.yourmentalhealth.ie
Contacting the Department: There is also a dedicated telephone Information line available for people seeking further information about the publication of the Report. The Department’s Information Line can be contacted on 01–6473200 from Monday to Friday 9.30am to 6pm.