The Dáil has passed a Social Democrats motion to extend the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes by one year. 

The Government had chosen not to oppose the motion, however, it is not obliged to act on it. 

Therefore the Commission will still conclude at the end of the week as scheduled.

A spokesperson at the Department of Children confirmed that it will not be giving consideration to extending the Commission, following today's motion. 

The spokesperson said the Department is focused on preparing to receive the Commission's archive. 

This afternoon, Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon requested that the Dáil allocated time to discuss giving effect to the motion. However, this was voted down by the Government. 

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Earlier, Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman said he cannot see what practical purpose could be achieved by extending the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes now that audio recordings of testimonies have been retrieved.

The Commission has retrieved audio recordings that previously were understood to have been deleted.

Minister O'Gorman told the Dáil he is focused on ensuring that all 549 audio recordings are secured and he is establishing a facility within his Department to provide personal data, to those who request it under GDPR, when his Department becomes data controller following the dissolution of the Commission at the end of this month.

Minister O'Gorman said that he believed that these actions would ensure that the voices of survivors are heard.

He said he understood the anger of some survivors when they first heard that audio recordings had been deleted. Mr O'Gorman said the Commission had to provide for individuals who wished to have their identity kept anonymous and that he believed that the Commission acted in "good faith" in seeking to design processes and procedures to ensure that would happen. 

He said that each survivor interview was attended by two Commission staff and the audio recordings were intended to be an "aide memoir".

The minister said that each survivor was given a guarantee of anonymity and it was for this reason that tapes were deleted. However, he told the Dáil that he recognises that some survivors dispute this. 

Minister O'Gorman said that he was notified on Monday that the Commission had retrieved "backup tapes" containing survivor testimonies from its offsite storage. It contained 549 recordings.

He said a sample of these recordings have proven to be audible, but not all 549 have been tested. Of the 550 survivors who gave testimonies, one requested that they would not be recorded. 

Mr O'Gorman said approximately 80 people sought for their personal information to be redacted. He said that these wishes must be honoured, and consideration is being given to ensuring that that happens.

In light of this the minister said that the Government will not table a counter motion to that put forward by the Social Democrats.

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore had put forward the motion in the Dáil to extend the Commission by one year. 

Ms Whitmore read out the response of some survivors to conclusions contained within the final report. 

She said that many survivors heavily contested that they had agreed to the destruction of the audio testimonies they gave to the commission.

Ms Whitmore said the purpose of her party's motion today was to allow survivors an opportunity to seek answers to their questions. 

She said an extension was needed, despite audio recordings of survivor testimonies being retrieved, as it is still not clear if all 550 testimonies have been recovered.

Another reason for extending the commission, she said, was to allow time to ensure that the testimonies that they gave are in line with the findings of the commission.

She asked Minister O'Gorman if he could ensure that survivors will still have access to a judicial review of the findings of the final report, in the event that the commission ceases to exist on 28 February.

She said the simple facts are that "survivors should enjoy the same rights, the same access to justice as every single person in this State. The dissolution of this commission will mean that those rights will not be available to survivors".

Ms Whitmore said the extension of the commission would be a simple act, that has been done before and wouldn't interfere with redress schemes. She said that survivors have done all they can.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly criticised Mr O'Gorman of speaking with "weasel words."

She asked how was it that the Dáil was told the recordings were "destroyed but then not destroyed."

Ms Connolly asked when a transcript of the recordings would be available and when the outcome of the investigation into the leak would be available.

Minister for State Anne Rabbitte said that 80 survivors had come forward to ask that their recordings be redacted. 

She said that one woman had said she did not want the term of the Commission extended. 

She said others wanted the Commission dissolved so they could get medical cards.