Dr Maeve O'Rourke Profile picture
Lecturer & Director of Human Rights Law Clinic at @IrishCentreHR | Barrister @33BedfordRow | Member @maglaundries | Pro bono co-director of @clann_project |🎻
Amy Stearnes Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
25 Oct
Colm Keena's piece in the Irish Times will hopefully be read alongside my previous Op Eds that explain key issues arising with #UnsealTheArchives

(here thejournal.ie/readme/maeve-o… and here irishexaminer.com/opinion/commen…)

and I provide a response to Colm's points in the thread below:
First, the article states that the Commission's purpose was 'to bring story of what happened in institutions into the open'. This is pretty much the problem, that the Commission has functioned to provide a story to the general public and not to give access to those affected by
the gross and systematic rights violations at stake to their own information and that concerning their deceased or disappeared family members.

The Commission has not allowed those affected to see or comment on any of the records - whether personal files or administrative files-
Read 25 tweets
24 Oct
It is necessary bearing in mind how many people @cmcgettrick @Ka_ODonnell and I have asked to trust us, and work with us, through the @clann_project and in other ways to respond to Senator's @barrymward extremely serious, disparaging remarks in the Seanad

The Senator has accused us of undertaking 'a sustained and dishonest campaign of misinformation', including creating an email campaign that was 'grossly misinformed'.

We are said to have 'wilfully put out information that has deliberately caused upset, anxiety, hurt'.
I stand over the email campaign at clannproject.org which highlighted the Minister's repeated, clear policy statement that his Department would be sealing for 30 years the entire archive received from the Commission of Investigation. It called on Government to use the Bill
Read 11 tweets
24 Oct

If DPC said exact opposite, how can the AG have advised & Government swallowed (while refusing to release any of the correspondence) that GDPR was ‘explicitly excluded’ from applying to Commission’s archive?(see 👇)


DPC statement in thread:
“The DPC was consulted by the Department on the Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) for the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) Records, and another Matter, Bill 2020.
The DPC provided a number of observations on the DPIA. In relation to the matter you raise about “Rights of Access” to information, it should be noted firstly that the rights under data protection legislation relate specifically to a right of access by an individual to their own
Read 8 tweets
16 Oct
Today in the Seanad the Govt continued to state that (1) the 'entire premise' of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 is that inquiries are confidential, and (2) the Minister is therefore forced to keep the archive, including survivors' personal data, 'sealed'. Not true:
1. The Oireachtas is not bound by the current provisions of the 2004 Act, as it is demonstrating by giving part of the Commission's archive to TUSLA. Clearly, it can change the law.

2. The 2004 Act does not force Commissions to operate fully in private.This Commission chose to.
Section 11 of the 2004 Act says that, in general, Commissions shall operate in private UNLESS (a)a witness requests a public hearing and the Commission grants the request, or(b) the Commission finds a public hearing to be in the interests of the investigation and fair procedures.
Read 18 tweets
13 Oct
A thread in response to the Govt's plan to allow the Mother and Baby Homes Commission's archive to be sealed for 30 years (except for a database on mothers and children detained in 11 institutions which it wants to give to TUSLA):

1. The Bill shows the Oireachtas is not bound
by the provisions of the 2004 Commissions of Investigation Act. It can legislate - as it is intending to do regarding the database & records it wants to send to TUSLA - to 'un-seal' material gathered or created by the Commission.
The Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 was never the appropriate legislation on which to base an inquiry into grave and systematic human rights abuse, including enforced disappearance, because of its provisions around confidentiality. I and many others argued this in 2015.
Read 19 tweets
14 Dec 18
All this talk of the Irish Parliamentary Party in #Election18 has reminded me how in 1901 in Westminster they forced an exemption from inspection for Magdalene Laundries under the mammoth Factory and Workshop Act 1901 - see section 103(4). #votail100 (Thread)
John Redmond's argument (which you can read here: hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1901/j…) went as follows:
"The claim we put forward...is confined to institutions, reformatory in their character, in which the labour employed is...of fallen women who have been taken by these charitable ladies,who have...provided them w/work and w/ means of salvation frm continuing in their evil courses
Read 18 tweets
15 Nov 18
THREAD: This piece by @ococonuts reveals what appears to be yet more disturbing treatment of Magdalene survivors by the Department of Justice.

Women excluded from Magdalene laundries redress must provide ‘records’ of work irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/i…
This week the Department published an 'Addendum' to the Terms of the Magdalene scheme which finally sets up a process to compensate women who were forced to work in Magdalene Laundries as children -- while they should have been in school. justice.ie/en/JELR/Addend…
In the Addendum, the Department states that the women must provide 'evidence' that they actually worked in the Magdalene Laundries, yet it fails to define what it means by 'evidence'. Going by the DOJ's previous practice, one must assume that they mean records.
Read 15 tweets
22 Aug 18
Thread: In 2014, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child examined the Holy See's human rights record. Regarding #Ireland it noted patterns of 'torture and other cruel or degrading treatment' and 'sale of children, trafficking & abduction' #papalvisit tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treat…
UNCRC noted Vatican's failure to investigate the arbitrary incarceration and 'slavery-like' conditions of girls and women in Magdalene Laundries
In addition to providing accountability and redress, the Committee urged the Vatican to take 'all necessary measures to ensure that women and children are not arbitrarily confined for any reason whatsoever in Catholic institutions in the future'.
Read 20 tweets