First Mothers Rejects Zappone's Transitional Justice Plan
By Kathy McMahon, Founder of Irish First Mothers | 5th March, 2017
The Irish First Mothers group rejects Minister Zappone's offer of so-called "transitional justice" to address civil
rights abuses, forced adoptions and incarcerations in Mother and Baby Homes.
The mothers seek simply the same justice afforded to any other Irish citizen.
Minister Zappone has reportedly said that in the coming days she will start a “conversation” with advocates, historians and scholars specialising in transitional justice.
The mothers are not deceased, and have no interest in becoming an academic gender justice program, or stuffed objects in a cultural history museum. The over sixty mothers in the group are living, breathing victims of genocidal crimes. The youngest among them are in their forties.
They have sought the Irish Attorney General's consideration in prosecuting these crimes against them under the Irish Genocide Act of 1973. They merely seek justice in accord with existing international declarations and norms.
The mothers were innocent of any crime. Their suffering happened in the many "Unmarried Mothers" concentration camps which remained open for over 30 long years after Tuam closed in 1961. They are the tip of an extensive iceberg still below the surface of Irish society and political conscience.
They plead with parliamentarians to press the Attorney General on whether the AG's office will take the question of such prosecutions under consideration. This request in electronic correspond
ence was confirmed rec
ieved by AG's office on 6th March, 2016. To date it is unacknowledged.
The mothers remind the Dail that Minister Zappone has never personally met with the Irish First Mothers group, nor ever had any direct communication with them by phone or otherwise.
The Minister some months ago met all the survivor and advocate groups run by adopted persons -as is appropriate. But she declined to meet a representative of perhaps materially the most affected group of all: the mothers. That is regrettable, because adopted persons would lack
lived experienceand understanding of
the issues affecting such mothers.
There is an infamous phrase in Irish media: "Does He Take Sugar?" It refers to the tagline of a radio show which gently mocked the o
utdated tendency to ig
nore some classes of people as if they have no personal voice -and ask third parties to voice for them instead.
The mothers also regret the national broadcaster's seeming determination to use them on radio and television for the entertainment value of their human interest stories - but consistently deny them access to political
orhard news forums appropriate for them to outline the crimes against them and articulate their justice demands.
They thank Pat Kenny and team for airing their story, and BBC
'sWoman's Hour for their interest.
Finally, they express their deep gratitude to Deirdre Hurley of
LMFM radio for her sensitive interview which truly conveys their
experiences and their campaign: