Between people waiting in the rain at UCHG for maternity services (yes really) and partners having limited if any ability to offer support it is so important to have the voice of Cllr. @MartinaGp5 on the Regional Health Forum. Action needed urgently

Martina O’Connor@MartinaGp5

Maternity services in Galway falling short of quality service
Pregnant people standing in the rain
Severely limited partner support,adherence to appointment times and waiting for those without cars
I discussed these issues and others with Tess Fogarty of HSE quality control

“If this piece of legislation isn’t passed, that database goes into the archive & is sealed for thirty years & that’s why I’m acting so quickly to pass this legislation.” @rodericogorman speaking on @PatKennyNT about his urgent work to preserve the Mother & Baby Home records.

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MOTHER AND BABY HOME BILL

The legislation is not about sealing records. It is about saving them. If we don’t pass this bill by the 30th of October data with be destroyed.

This legislation is about protecting records. As part of its work, the Commission created a database of every person to have passed through the main Mother and Baby Homes. The legislation needs to pass by October 30th or the database will be destroyed. We cannot allow this important information to be lost, which is why we are doing this urgently.
• This Bill aims to protect and preserve the records of the Commission, not to put them beyond reach. It aims to grab a once in a lifetime opportunity to safeguard an invaluable database so that it is not destroyed, but, rather, can be used to support future information and tracing services.
• This legislation is not about sealing the archive. The Commission was established under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, which requires evidence is private and sealed for thirty years.
• People gave evidence under assurances that the archive would be sealed in line with the 2004 Act. Personally I don’t believe the commission should ever have been set up under that legislation and now we are trying to ensure the greatest possible access to data.
• We fully understand the concerns people have on this bill, but would hope that they understand that without it, the records could be destroyed. That’s why we need to act.
• Nevertheless, legitimate concerns exist that former residents should be afforded agency and choice over how their own stories, their own lived experiences, are treated.
• On one hand, many former residents who provided their story believed that they would remain fully anonymous and their name would never remain in any record, even one that would be sealed for 30 years.
• Equally, others who told their stories would wish their names to remain attached to the story for posterity.
• Consequently, Minister O’Gorman is bringing forward an amendment to address both viewpoints in this important debate and, in so, doing respect each person’s agency and right to decide in respect of their story.

I HAVE ASKED THE MINISTER:
To ensure that there is an index, which is what many survivors are calling for. He has commited to this.

To ensure that Information and Tracing legislation is brought forward as soon as possible.

To ensure that stakeholder engagement on that legislation starts ASAP, including with Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance.

To do all he can to protect the data and give the greatest possible access to it. That’s what this bill is for.

I would not put my name to this bill if I did not 100% believe that it was necessary to save people’s personal information. It is necessary.

CRITICISMS OF THE BILL

There are those who don’t want personal details ever to be released. We don’t agree with this. Some senators voted against the bill because they want NO access to the personal data.

There are those who don’t want the data to go to Tusla. I understand this concern personally, but the data is all a copy rather than originals. Tusla currently holds 80%, so the Minister feels that more legislation is needed to make Tusla more effective in giving people access to their personal information.

The information should have an index. We have a commitment now that it will.

That people were not not allowed to say no to their stories being anonymous. I agree with this point and the Minister is bringing forward an amendment to deal with this point.

That GDPR applies to people’s own data and therefore neither this bill nor the other applies if people are looking for access to their own data. I’ve asked the Minister to address this point more fully, but fundamentally the legal advice is that GDPR does not apply and therefore people can’t look for access through this method. But all of the data is a copy from homes and so on. The originals are not bound by the 2004 legislation or this bill.
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So many positive steps in this budget that we fought tooth and nail for, making it progressive and fair.

Here’s just a few highlights!
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