Women who lived in mother and baby homes across Ireland can now avail of free legal assistance to make a witness statement.

The project, which will be known as Clann, has been set up by Justice for Magdalenes Research and the Adoption Rights Alliance.

They say the initiative will ensure the commission conducts the most comprehensive investigation possible.

The new project will provide women who lived at any of the country's mother and baby homes with free legal assistance in drafting witness statements.

Those behind the project say it will allow women to make a comprehensive statement to the commission which is investigating how unmarried mothers and their babies were treated at 14 State-linked religious institutions.

They say that it will ensure that women can still give evidence even if they do not wish to do so in person.

They also say that while the commission's work is focusing on 14 homes, it will be gathering information on over 170 institutions and will compile a group report based on the statements made by those affected.