There are currently no plans to compensate people "solely for being boarded out", but many who had already spent time in a mother-and-baby home will qualify for redress, Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman has said.

He was speaking after a new financial redress scheme for the survivors of mother-and-baby homes was published yesterday.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr O'Gorman said he was "conscious" of the experience of those who were "boarded out", adding that he was looking to bring other measures forward for those affected, including a counselling scheme and information tracing.

From the foundation of the State, many orphans, children born to unmarried mothers and those who were abandoned by their parents were placed by local authorities with families, often on rural farms, who were paid to rear them.

"The commission, when it undertook its investigation, its focus was not on the 'boarded out' phenomenon," Mr O'Gorman said.

"Its focus was on mother-and-baby homes, so in terms of the scheme we are bringing forward, we weren't in a position to compensate individuals solely for the 'boarded out' phenomenon."

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Tens of thousands of children were fostered out, or "boarded out", in a system arranged by the State, according to Prof Conor O'Mahony, the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection.

It is "disappointing" that the redress scheme for institutional survivors excludes children who spent less than six months in homes, Prof O'Mahony told the same programme.

"After a long and drawn-out process it also leaves behind many children who suffered extreme abuse and neglect after being boarded out in foster homes," he said.

"While the Government's effort to avoid an adversarial process is to be welcomed, the provisions in relation to children fall short in some key areas."

It is "completely unclear now" where people who are excluded from the scheme can turn to for redress.

"There is a serious gap and a real disconnect to say "this abuse happened on the State's watch" and not to make any provisions to address that," Prof O'Mahony added.

The scheme "goes beyond the proposals of the Redress Commission and ensures that every mother who was in these institutions will receive a payment", Minister O'Gorman said this morning.

The first awards are expected late next year, he added, which will see the prioritisation of the "most elderly".


Read more:
Court challenge over parts of mother-and-baby home report
€800m mother-and-baby redress scheme is 'largest ever' - O'Gorman


Some survivors who were children in the institutions for less than six months will be disappointed by the scheme, Mr O'Gorman said.

However, he said that many of those people had indicated to him that their priority is access to their information, including their birth names and birth mother.

He said a tracing process is "providing this" and almost 300 have now received their personal information, including an unredacted copy of their birth certificates.

Meanwhile, a woman born in the Sean Ross Abbey mother-and-baby home in Roscrea in 1965 has said she was "shocked and horrified" at the redress plan.

Colleen Anderson said the scheme was unfair and insulting to survivors.

Ms Anderson, who was sent to the US when she was a toddler, said she was sent to a family that was abusive because her adoptive mother had a mental illness.

She said this has affected her entire life and you cannot put a price on that.