'Justice delayed is justice denied.'

Tuam Babies Family Group has called for the early publication of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation which details the inquiry made into a number of homes around the country back in 2012.

The Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation is a judicial commission of investigation, established in 2015, by an order of the Irish government. It aims to provide a full account of what happened to women and children in these homes during the period 1922 to 1998.

The scope of the Commission's remit is broad and includes several specific areas of practice and procedure in the care, welfare, entry arrangements and exit pathways for the women and children who were residents of the named 14 institutions and a representative sample of County identified for investigation.

According to the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation, the new deadline for delivery of the Commission's reports is 17 February 2019.

The Tuam Babies Family Group (TBFG) represent families of those who both have siblings buried in the mass grave discovered at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home and former inmates who lived through in the homes in Ireland and abroad. 

Following the publication of the first, second and third interim reports, the TBFG are calling on Minister Katherine Zappone and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to publicate the full investigation, including details of the mass grave dig. 

They took to Twitter to make their statement.

"We at the Tuam Babies Family Group represent survivors and people who have 11 family members in the Tuam Pit. We believe that any delay in the publishing of the Commission findings is tantamount to a denial of justice. 

"Justice delayed is justice denied. There is nothing that this forum can add to what is already being covered up. The former residents are now at an advanced age and any delay will further add to the suffering they have already endured.

"Immediate steps are necessary to aid them in their daily living e.g Medical Care Home assistance and whatever other needs they may have. They need an immediate interim payment as time is passing. We know that the Pit in Tuam is under the remit of Minister Zappone and the Cabinet and not the Commission and again we question the delay in proceeding with the dig and the setting up of a D.N.A. database.

"There now seems to be a need for new laws to advance the work there. This is before any work commences in relation to the dig.

"So far we have had no communication from the Minister despite the fact that Dr Geoffrey Shannon's report [says] that the family must be kept updated on all issues surrounding Tuam as we alone have rights under the ECHR. We further question under what Authority e.g Law of the Land Minister Zappone is operating. This is a crime scene and as such this Site falls to the Coroner who works under the Department of Justice.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" and mark you we are being deceived. Delay, deny till we all die and go away. No chance........."

The group then linked back to Zappone's own department's homepage

The investigation into the Tuam Mother and Baby Home began in October 2015 with a non-evasive geophysical survey conducted on the grounds. A five-week test excavation was then conducted in September 2016. 

Thorough investigations continued until July 2018 when the Commission's involvement eventually ceased. 

Some two months ago, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone revealed that the Mother and Baby home was to be excavated to ascertain the between 7,000 and 8,000 babies who died in Irish homes.

Upon announcing this, Zappone said she "understands that this is a hugely important decision for all connected to the site in Tuam, most especially those who believe they may have a loved one buried there and those now living close to the site".

The Tuam Babies family group responded to the news with the following statement: "This is an exceptionally important decision and will pave the way for all the other mother and baby homes, and the lost children of Ireland.

"We want all of the children found, if they are not in the grave, where are they? All of the children must be found and we would like to see a full excavation of the entire site as we believe there are many graves in the area, not just at the site we have all come to know."

Irish Tatler has contacted the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation and will update upon their response.