In the past week, both Houses of the Oireachtas, in the Republic of Ireland, have been working at breakneck speed to introduce legislation that would effectively seal important records from a recent Commission of Investigation for 30 years.
This Government action follows on from the conclusion of the Mother & Baby Home Investigation, in answer to the alleged calls that legal uncertainty exists in the holding of records. The intended legislative action through the ‘Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and Certain related Matters) Records Bill 2020’ (1), also plans to separate the records from the Commission’s work, placing some in the care or TUSLA, the Child & Family Agency, the remainder with the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth, Mr Roderic O’Gorman TD.
Despite calls from many victims and survivors of the Magdalene system and their families, the Government appears to be intent on introducing this legislation, thus repeating the mistakes of the past and failing to build a true consensus to deal with this National scandal.
Frank Brehany is a surviving Grandson of a woman who was incarcerated for 42 years, until her death in 1972. His Father had to face a life, carrying with him the stigma of his birth, being fostered out and never knowing his Mother or Father.
Frank and his family are more fortunate than most of the Magdalene Women, Children and their Families, because for over 10 years, he has carried out ground-based enquires and established what happened to his Grandparents and his Father, and discovered a family that was never thought to exist. He is currently at the stage of seeking the last of the documentary records from TUSLA and the Religious Orders, which will provide the final jigsaw pieces to his long search.
In recognising the issues, Frank has written an Open Letter to Minister O’Gorman, challenging the issues contained within the proposed Bill and indeed the Minister’s Public Twitter comments (2).
Frank states that:
“It has been a long journey for me and my family, but it is a journey that has brought so much joy; we simply need the last pieces of the puzzle to understand what happened to my Grandparent’s and my Father”.
“I have met so many wonderful people on this quest and I began to realise that our concerns were also the concerns of so many. Indeed, I have witnessed many go on to establish the truth of their families through sheer hard work. This journey will be recognised by many Irish people as key, having that sense of belonging; a sense of identity”.
“In my journey, I have also met the other side to the great generosity I have received. Cold, hard, negative actions and responses from State and Religious Authorities have introduced me to another side of this scandal, designed to frustrate and deflect simple enquiries. The Irish Government has had long enough to hear the message of the people and creating Laws and Processes that simply add to that frustration, continues to add to the commentary that Church and State are working hand in glove. For me it is important that the Government places an immediate legislative break on this current Bill and seek the consensus that this topic deserves. Compassion is all well and good, but it really is time to end the Magdalene Scaradh of generations”.
- - ‘Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and Certain related Matters) Records Bill 2020’ can be found here: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2020/38/
- Frank’s Open Letter to Minister O’Gorman can be found here: http://frankbrehany.com/blog/open-letter-minister-o-gorman-don-t-bury-the-mother-and-baby-homes-commission-archive/
- Frank Brehany is based in Wales and is an Irish Citizen. Frank has extensive Media Experience, primarily dealing with Consumer & Rights issues. Frank’s CV can be found here: http://frankbrehany.com/media/1151/fbs-cv-24220.pdf