A number of Senators say they have been inundated with emails voicing concerns about a bill on Mother and Baby Homes, which has by-passed pre-legislative scrutiny. 

Today, the second stage of the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters) Records Bill 2020 and certain related matters legislation went before the house.

The reason for the urgency is that it includes arrangements for the transfer and management of the Commission of Investigation's records into certain homes before it publishes its final report.

The commission will conclude and publish the findings of its five year investigation at the end of the month.  

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has said he has been told that the approximately 4,000 page report will be an extremely detailed examination with a social history and witness testimony.

Therefore, according to Roderic O'Gorman, the bill being pushed through the Seanad this week is required to preserve access to "invaluable information now and into the future".

Part of that information includes a digital database which includes with details of those were resident in the majority of the homes under investigation.

The commission does not believe it has a legal basis to transfer that database and would be compelled by law to redact the information contained therein.

The bill allows the database to be transferred to Tusla without redaction and where many of the original files are kept.

The commission was established under the 2004 Commissions of Investigation Act.

This requires that records be sealed for a period of 30 years pending their transfer to the National Archives.

This aspect of the bill has incensed survivors, their relatives and advocates.

Co-Director of the Clann Project Dr Maeve O'Rourke has said it is crucial that the Minister informs the public of what kinds of records he intends to seal for 30 years.

In the Seanad, Senators echoed this point.

One by one they rose to their feet to say they had received thousands of emails of concern over the bill being fast tracked through the House.

Among those who called for further time to consider the text and allow further scrutiny was the Labour Senator Ivana Bacik.

The party has submitted two amendments to the bill to address the concerns that have been raised about the transfer the custody of records to Tusla and to provide for access by affected individuals and families to records concerning them or their relatives, even if that means disapplying the 30 year sealing rule.

The debate spilled into the Dáil when the Sinn Fein Leader Mary Lou McDonald raised the matter with the Taoiseach.

She said sealing records would prevent people from accessing their records.

However, in the Seanad Independent Senator Michael McDowell said the terms of reference under which the commission was established stated that those who came forward were assured that they would not be named, nor would any institution.

He spoke against family members being given access to the archives after 30 years after those who came forward were given "a cast iron commitment that they would not be identified".

The legislation will be discussed at committee stage on Friday when many amendments will be debated.

The bill is due to be guillotined, but given the nature of the subject and the sensitivity of the subject matter, it is likely to be a long day.