Independent TD for Galway West Catherine Connolly has said the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes had drawn incorrect conclusions from the testimonies of mothers and children.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne she said the conclusions "bear no connection to the testimony given by the women and men that came forward."

"It was not the stories that upset me. It is the narrative that is being put on those stories by the powers that be.

"The extracts of their testimony, what jumps out is the complete absence of any knowledge on sexuality. Not to mention, sexual abuse and rape."

"Then you look at the conclusions drawn by the commission, and they tell us that there was no evidence that women were forced to enter mother and baby homes. That for me is extraordinary, because it bears no connection to the testimony given by the women and men that came forward, how they could have drawn that conclusion is beyond, beyond my capability."

She said it is also "beyond capability" that it found no evidence of forced adoption.

"That is totally out of line with the evidence given by the women and the men." 

She said the webinar held by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Children should not have happened on Tuesday, when she said many of the survivors had not received the report.

"Bearing in mind that the Government and the Minister has had this since the end of October. That's unacceptable."

"They were not treated with equality. Instead of that they got a webinar with no report in their hand. They were left struggling with the internet on Tuesday after the webinar, to access a 3000-page report."

Deputy Connolly said she was upset by the leak of the report to the media, and the suggestion that society was responsible.

"I think what really got to my thought was the narrative, and the leak to the papers by the government. And then the narrative that we were all responsible. I certainly wasn't responsible, and I'm intimately connected on a family level with this story."

She said the language used was not appropriate.

"They're referred to as the witness, the next witness, a birth mother, an adoptee just the type of language. They were all mothers and children. Then there's a commentary in here, that's not helpful at all. The narrative that nobody came to take our children. Yes, they did."


Read more on the mother-and-baby homes report


She said the use of the word "inhumane" was only used to refer to how women were treated when they went to the UK.

She cited page 14 of the report: "Many pregnant women fled to Britain to protect the secrecy, only to face the prospect of being returned to Ireland against their wishes."

She said: "There's absolutely no elaboration of who forced them to come back to Ireland, but forced they were. They call it repatriation in another place."

She took issue to the report capturing that women were referred to "PFI" - meaning Pregnant from Ireland.

Ms Connolly made the point that the report focussed on 14 mother-and-baby homes.

"The 14 mother-and-baby homes were the largest, but there were others, the county homes are only an example, there were only a sample of them."

She called for "a recognition of the suffering that women, boys and girls, endured", and an end to "the patriarchal patronizing attitude that dominated yesterday."

Deputy Connolly claimed the leaking of the report was not "a technical glitch".

"This was a deliberate policy, because it did not trust the survivors not to leak so they leaked. They decided they would determine the narrative."

I expect when Taoiseach is talking again, that he will set out clearly, "we did it wrong before, we will learn now, and we will do it right."