Friday, March 10, 2017

IRL : Tuam babies scandal: Evidence may be inadmissible in criminal case

Concern has been expressed that any evidence given to the Mother and Baby Homes Commission is not admissible in any future criminal proceedings.

Under section 19 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, statements or documents given to the commission are inadmissible as evidence against a person in any criminal or other proceedings.

Citing the relevant section of the Act, Claire McGettrick of the Justice For Magdalenes Group called for An Garda Síochána to establish its own investigation independent of the commission.

“This investigation should look into abuse, neglect, and illegal separations of mothers and children in mother and baby homes, county homes, maternity hospitals, and through adoption agencies and similar entities,” she said. 

It comes as the Irish First Mothers group confirmed that it has written to the attorney general seeking to bring prosecutions under the Irish Genocide Act of 1973 in respect of religiously motivated grievous injuries which they suffered.

The group said its members were subject to religiously motivated, grossly criminal acts under section 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly.

“The attorney general could pursue prosecutions for failure to prevent genocide, for conspiracy, for incitement, and for the crime of genocide itself,” the Irish First Mothers group said in a statement.

“But we have identified no culpable parties and we leave such matters to the judgement of the attorney general’s office.”

Separately, the Magdalene Survivors Together group has called for the exhumation of all Magdalene women and children from mass graves located around the county.

Group chairman Steven O’Riordan said the Tuam scandal would not be the last relating to the treatment of women and children.

“It is a great shame that we as a society continue to deny babies, women, and children the dignity of a proper burial,” he said.

“The Tuam babies scandal is not the first and it will not be the last. This Government has a chance to do something right for the forgotten women, children, and their babies.”

Mr O’Riordan also claimed that the group made a submission in 2011 to then justice minister Alan Shatter and then environment minister John Gormley to have the issue of Magdalene mass graves investigated.

“Magdalene Survivors Together is now calling on the Irish Government to commit in an open and transparent way to fully investigating all mass graves located in institutions throughout Ireland.

“The Magdalene Survivors Together group firmly believes that if we are to lay the ghosts of the past to rest we must first acknowledge them.”

Meanwhile, People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith hit out at Finance Minister Michael Noonan for attending the opening of the Bon Secours Hospital Limerick.

“A top Government minister attending the opening of this Bon Secours hospital in Limerick today, after the revelations of the Tuam babies, is a shocking slap in the face to the victims of these mother and baby homes. 

"The Church and the State colluded to cover up these vile acts and the disgusting mistreatment of women and children,” she said.

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