The Shame of Ireland
Survivors of Ireland’s hellish Mother and Baby Homes are facing a €500,000 legal bill in their battle for compensation.
Unlike the Commission on Child Abuse in 2002, victims will not be provided with free legal advice.
The previous inquiry racked up more than €55million in lawyers’ bills but survivors were not asked to pay.
Support groups, already unhappy with the terms of reference for the probe, say this is another obstacle to justice.
Derek Leinster, who represents survivors of The Bethany Home, accused the Government of trying to restrict access to the redress scheme.
He said: “We want the same justice that was given to survivors that went before the Commission and Redress in 2002.
“All their costs, including solicitors and barristers, were covered by the State.
“We must get the same now. The overall cost for a survivor to go to a high court could be approximately half a million euros.Bethany Home, Orwell Road in in Rathgar, Dublin
“Many of us will not be able to get legal cover because of that cost.
“Many of us are old and very frail, some have dementia setting in. They may not be able to go on for much longer.
“Time is running out for many of us. Some of us won’t live to see justice done.”
The inquiry into the mother and baby homes was set up following revelations last year about the deaths of almost 800 children at an institution in Tuam, Co Galway.
The investigation will cover all homes from the foundation of the State in 1922 up to the early 1990s.
A commission of investigation is designed to provide a quicker method of probing matters of urgent concern than a tribunal.
A time-frame of three years has been given for the process but there are fears it will take much longer.
The Child Abuse Inquiry of 2002 dragged on for more than 10 years and survivors fear a similar outcome in the current inquiry.
Mr Leinster said: “Everybody’s case is different. Some people haven’t had their reports done, some have yet to be psychologically assessed.
“Many others who are outside the terms of reference are also seeking compensation.
“This could easily run for eight years or more. For people who have been waiting a lifetime for justice, that’s simply not good enough.
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