The memorialisation of the Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries must be accelerated, according to Senator Mary Seery Kearney, Fine Gael member of the Oireachtas Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
Senator Kearney said: “It is time that the voices of survivors were heard, and that our dark past is appropriately memorialised.
“It is clear we need a proper respectful memorial that reflects the lived experience of the survivors and gives their voices a place in Irish history. It is important that the truth of this period are featured on the school curriculum and that the memorial site becomes a place for people of all ages to visit and learn about the past and reflect on it.
“The site at Sean McDermott Street makes for an obvious possible location given it would allow the State to capture both the Mother and Baby Home experience as well as the Magdalene Laundry experience. It is one of the most intact sites from the time but is deteriorating rapidly and action should be taken to ensure it is preserved.
“We must accelerate discussions about the process of memorialisation now, and I believe the Oireachtas Committee on Children, of which I am a member, is the place to have these discussions, including with members of the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation.
“In light of the recent appearance by Commission Member Professor Mary Daly at the Oxford Seminar where she spoke about the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation Report, it is unreasonable for the Commission members, especially Prof Daly to continue to make themselves unavailable for the Joint Oireachtas Committee. This is not an academic exercise, this is people’s lives we are talking about. Refusing to appear before the Oireachtas, while choosing to speak about it at Oxford just shows that the Committee is disconnected from the reality of people’s suffering.
“A commitment from the State now in relation to the appropriate memorialisation of our past will be a first step in ensuring the voices of survivors are heard and respected.”