Ryan Tubridy has slammed the Government’s decision to seal mother and baby home records until 2050.
On Thursday night, the Dáil passed a controversial bill that will allow the transfer of a database of 60,000 records created by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.
However, under the 2004 Commissions of Investigation Act, the remaining records will be sealed for the next 30 years.
Speaking on his RTÉ Radio 1 show this morning, Ryan recalled meeting a group of survivors a number of years ago.
He said: “I remember meeting a bunch of people who had been the victims of abuse who had been in homes and mother and children homes or indeed other types of homes.”
“The looks in their eyes when they looked at me, they gathered around me and said, ‘Can you do something, can you give us a voice, can you lend your voice to our cause?'”
“I said, ‘I don’t know’. I felt quite helpless. But I’ll remember you. And today I remembered them because I remembered the looks in their eyes because they were haunted.”
“They were haunted by their past and by the unanswered questions.”
Ryan continued: “When I was a kid growing up and as a young student in college studying history and everything else, I thought, ‘Well at least it’s going to be ok now in my time because we won’t let them down.'”
“‘We won’t have secrets, we’ll be able to tell them that’s ok, you want to know things, we won’t let them down.’ I’m worried that the archives are going to be buried away for 30 years and these people will remain with their questions unanswered.”
Ryan said: “Don’t we as a generation deserve to give them the respect of answers and the respect of listening to their story and giving them their identity and a sense of purpose?”
“Didn’t we not as a country for too many decades, silence people and shut mothers up and take babies away and deprive people of the right to know their basic human rights and is this not a defining moment?”
“I know it’s a pandemic but we shouldn’t let that lose sight of other stories and this is a really important one, so all I would say is the time surely is now for these people to get the respect they deserve and be given the answers that they seek.”
Ryan added: “In 30 years I don’t want to be a 77 year old man reading the paper and saying, ‘But we knew then and we chose to stay quiet.'”
“Silence is the enemy here and was the enemy for years.”