“On the day that the Irish Government has published the Payment Scheme for the survivors of mother-and-baby homes it is important to recognise the particular legacy of trauma and hurt felt so deeply by those survivors living abroad, most particularly in Britain, which is home to the largest number of survivors outside Ireland. I would like to especially acknowledge how difficult this year has been for all survivors, their families and for those communities that have been working on behalf of the survivors.
As Minister with special responsibility for the Diaspora, I am committed to working closely with colleagues across Government to ensure the needs of those survivors living abroad continue to be reflected in implementation of the Scheme and the Action Plan. Though our Embassies and Consulates we will work closely with the Department of Children, Equality , Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) to communicate back to those survivors and to their representatives living abroad.
The publication of the Action Plan, including the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme has been keenly awaited by former residents of these institutions, including those survivors living abroad. The Scheme means that survivors living abroad will have access to a financial payment on the same basis as those living in Ireland, and will also have access to either an enhanced medical card or a once-off payment in lieu of the card.
Having a dedicated point of contact for those living outside Ireland is a particular request that has been conveyed strongly to us by Irish community and welfare organisations worldwide. Work is currently underway on the development of an enhanced model of engagement involving a dedicated Advocate for survivors and former residents. It will be important that any “Advocate” has the necessary resources to properly engage with the particular concerns of survivors living abroad.
I welcome the proposal for a central repository for records and my Department would be willing to transfer the files under its remit to this repository.
One of the primary objectives of Ireland’s new Diaspora Strategy, which I had the honour to launch a year ago, is to heal the relationship with our emigrants who left Ireland as a result of discrimination or as victims of institutional abuse. I am glad to confirm that through the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, the Department of Foreign Affairs will be providing further support to Irish community organisations working with and on behalf of survivors living abroad in 2022.”