‘You need to listen to survivors’ – Kilkenny TD speaks out as ‘destroyed’ recordings are found
A Kilkenny TD has called for an extension to the Mother and Baby Homes Commission inquiry. Deputy Kathleen Funchion said more survivors must be allowed to tell their stories after recordings of interviews to the Commission that were believed to be destroyed were found.
The Sinn Féin TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Equality said more time must be given to survivors to ensure the information they provided in their recorded testimonies is correctly interpreted in the final report.
Deputy Funchion told the Dáil: “We were all aghast at the findings of this report and at the cold, hard language used to describe the most heart-breaking of stories. I would actually go as far to say that this report has re-traumatised survivors and done a great disservice to these brave women and men.
“It is obvious to all who are in constant contact with survivors that many survivors have not fully read the report which has meant that they have not had the opportunity to alert the commission of serious anomalies with their testimonies.
“There is also the outstanding issue of accountability around the legality of the Commission destroying survivor testimonies. And whilst I am very relieved that you have located these testimonies, I think finding them makes it more important that the commission remains in situ,” Deputy Funchion added.
The Kilkenny TD said many questions regarding the destruction and subsequent discovery of the testimonies remain.
She added: “The importance of personal testimony has shown time and time throughout history to play a vital role in our understanding, in our appreciation of the sacrifice that so many have made and gives modern generations an opportunity to understand their history, however painful or confronting that history may be.
“What you can do by extending the Commission, is ensure that survivors have a mechanism to amend their testimonies to reflect their reality of what they experienced, not the report’s authors interpretation.
“If you are truly trying to find a resolution, you need, and I cannot empathise this enough you need to listen to survivors.”