James Reilly changes inquiry scope after TD’s case excluded
Minister for Children Dr James Reilly has made a last-minute change to the terms of reference of the mother and baby homes inquiry after it was discovered a TD who had highlighted the issue would be excluded from its remit.
The terms of reference were discussed by Ministers at their weekly meeting.
Amendments were made afterwards in the commission of investigation’s definition of single women. The definition now includes widows and married women living separately from their husbands.
It is understood Labour Ministers made their concerns known because a case involving one of their backbench TDs would have been excluded.
Ms Ferris spoke about how she had just met her sister last summer after the two had been placed for adoption when they were children. The pair were born in mother and baby homes.
The Wicklow Deputy’s father had left and gone to England.
While Ms Ferris did not return calls yesterday it is understood she was concerned such cases would not be covered by Dr Reilly’s terms of reference.
She told the Dáil last summer: “Each of us was adopted from a different mother and baby home into different families and eventually, we ended up living in different countries.”
Changes were made following the Cabinet meeting after these issues were raised with Dr Reilly, and clarifications were tabled by him during a subsequent Seanad debate.
A spokesman for Dr Reilly said “the Government decided to make a very slight amendment to the draft order for the establishment of the commission of investigation into mother and baby homes”.
“The change is a clarification that takes account of the fact that in some cases the women in mother and baby homes were in fact married or widows.”