A new delay in the government-led investigative report was announced last week.
A group of survivors, family members and advocates representing the lost children of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home have taken legal action against the government as a result of their repeated delaying tactics in releasing an investigation report of the home, Irish Tatler understands.
Earlier this month, Tuam Babies Family Group 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 investigation into the Tuam Mother and Baby Home began in October 2015 followed by a five-week test excavation in September 2016.
Thorough investigations continued until July 2018 when the Commission's involvement eventually ceased. A final report was due last year but a one-year extension was sought.
A second twelve-month extension was granted earlier this week, in order to deliver “a complete analysis”.
However, according to the Irish Mirror – due to the commission’s workload and resources – it was unlikely that the report would be seen before 2021.
Last week, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone apologised for the latest delay in the work of a commission of investigation probing the institutions.
Mother-and-baby homes were institutions generally run by nuns where women who became pregnant outside marriage gave birth. These babies were generally adopted, often by Catholic families in the US, in return for a donation.
Anna Corrigan – a sister to two boys who, in her words, were 'victims of the Tuam Home Mother and Baby Home' – confirmed that "the Pit in Tuam is no longer under the Commission but is being dealt with directly by Minister Zappone and the Cabinet"
She also revealed that Irish First Mothers that are pursuing legal action. "We are deciding where go next," she told Irish Tatler.
Fintan Dunne, the press officer for Irish First Mothers, told Irish Tatler that no findings of culpability had been made with more than 500 witnesses already interviewed.
"It's pretty much a class action. Class actions are not allowed in the High Court under Irish law but this is as close to it as you can get.
“Claims will include negligence, people traumatically affected by their experiences and their adoption, psychological abuse, breaches of human rights law and assault. Some of those affected are still in the process of investigation. and will be over the next couple of weeks, while others are in abeyance awaiting litigation."
Dunne – who admitted that the First Mothers group "would never go against a comprehensive investigation" – also mentioned that legal action was never intended, however, the announcement that the report was in its fourth interim acted as a catalyst.
"It was not the intention that we mass-sue the State, but if there's no other option..."
He believes that the potential claims could add "up to billions".
Speaking to Irish Tatler, a spokesperson of the Tuam Home Survivors Network also confirmed that chair Peter Mulryan took High Court action in a personal capacity against the State and attended Dublin’s Four Courts for proceedings on eight different occasions.
He is seeking information related to his sister, Marian Bridget, who is missing from the Tuam Mother and Baby Home since the mid-fifties.
"This issue has still not been satisfactorily resolved," they said.
It was also revealed that a private meeting was held between members of the group and leading authority in Child Law and Family Law Dr Geoffrey Shannon on Sunday.
According to the group's spokesperson, the meeting "was informative and enlightening as his involvement prompted the government to act on the site and to regard families as having rights regarding the disappeared."
Catherine Corless – the local historian whose extensive research broke the story that almost 800 children were buried in a mass grave at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home – spoke to Keith Finnegan on Galway Bay FM about the importance of not rushing such an important report and "not leaving anyone out".
"They want an apology, they want acknowledgement and they want justice for their mothers and for all those children who died."
She also confirmed that sourcing information about the babies buried in the mass grave is just "the tip of the iceberg".
"There's so much more besides the burials in Tuam. There's the injustice, there's the way the babies were taken from their mothers, there are a lot of injustices – women who gave birth there, a lot of them were sent to other institutions... All that has to be looked into.
"It was barbaric Keith, it really was."
Last week, Clare Daly TD said it was “jaw-dropping” to have three reports in the space of four years with “no details and no findings”.
Some one has to be held accountable for the delays in Mother and Baby Home Investigation. We need to know why it is taking so long, there are many questions to be answered here and no one is standing up to answer them. https://t.co/3o0sFMs224— Clare Daly TD (@ClareDalyTD) January 24, 2019
According to the report, some 519 former residents of the home – or people with connections to them – have, so far, met with the Commission. A remaining 26 await hearings.