Mother and Baby homes survivors advised to apply again for compensation

By Maurice Garvey

SURVIVORS of Mother and Baby homes in South Dublin County have urged other survivors of institutions to reapply with the Residential Institutions Redress Board if they have been denied under a compensation scheme.

In February, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, on behalf of Ireland’s Court of Appeal, quashed a High Court decision agreeing with the Redress Board that a 58-year-old man had applied too late under the compensation scheme.

Mother and Baby home Dail 1 

The board refused to extend time for the man – who went to St Kieran’s Industrial School – because he had not established exceptional circumstances.

The man claimed he had not applied because he was illiterate and drank heavily between 2002 and 2005.

Tallaght resident Tony Kelly, who started life in St Teresa’s mother and baby home in Blackrock, says the ruling has “effectively cleared the way for many who suffered abuse.”

Mr Kelly said: “Because of illiteracy, they did not know of their right to claim compensation. From the judgement, the Redress Board did not consider the fact that a person was illiterate was exceptional circumstances. How cruel. I consider that to be a further insult to an already abused person.”

Terri Harrison and David Kinsella – survivors of St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home – protested outside the Dáil last week.

Parkwest resident Terri Harrison, founder of support group Mothers Wronged said: “We as mothers were a target of the times, a target for economical gain, a target for human theft. The war on single parenting determined our imprisonment.

“Today our leaders have a choice, an informed choice to make – acknowledge the crimes of those who stole our lives, who stole our natural right as mothers, who left us this living bereavement of a life sentence.”

Mr Kinsella said survivors are seeking a full apology and fast-track interim redress to be put in place while the Commission continues its work in the inquiry.

“Since the inquiry began, we have lost a lot of survivors, and some are very ill and aged,” he said.

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