Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone has criticised what she described as sensationalised’ headlines and media reports about the Tuam Mother & Baby Home.
Ms Zappone was speaking during a Seanad debate on the issue. She was pressed on the issue by Independent NUI Senator Rónán Mullen who expressed concern on behalf of former residents of the Co. Galway institution.
Mr Mullen referred to the family of a woman who gave birth in the home. “To the best of my knowledge she is probably one of the only surviving mothers of the institution there,” he said.
“The family was very annoyed that she had to be subjected to those kinds of headlines instead of getting a sensitive telephone call to outline the true facts.
“We have seen headlines to the effect that the Irish State did it to its own children and murdered them by the thousands by neglect and hate,” Mr Mullen said.
He referenced one article in the Irish Independent which referred to ‘Banished Babies and the price of life in Ireland’s Mother and Baby homes’.
The article, Senator Mullen pointed out, “said that babies were allowed to die, were murdered in effect.
“One newspaper has called the scandal ‘our little holocaust’,” Mr Mullen said, challenging the minister to agree that these headlines are “not just inaccurate but extremely unhelpful and prejudicial to the future impact of the truth telling the commission is charged with”.
Responding, Ms Zappone said: “Senator Mullen referred to headlines that sensationalise matters. I agree with him in that regard. The senator will be aware that I have met many of the resilient survivors and their families on numerous occasions, both in Tuam and in these Houses.
“I understand the pain in that regard from their perspective,” Minister Zappone told the Seanad.