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Mother-and-baby payments scheme opens
Minister Roderic O'Gorman (Pic: RollingNews.ie)

20 Mar 2024 / ireland Print

Mother-and-baby payments scheme opens

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has called for changes to the payments scheme for survivors of mother-and-baby institutions.

The scheme, set up under the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme Act 2023, opened for applications today (20 March).

While the human-rights body welcomed the scheme, it called for measures that would improve its compliance with “recognised human-rights and equality standards”.

180-day requirement

IHREC has recommended the removal of a six-month stay requirement, to ensure that all children – including children who were adopted, boarded out and fostered – who were resident in a relevant institution were eligible to apply to the scheme.

The organisation said that the 180-day period was not an indicator of whether a child suffered harm.

The scheme also provides that a person must have been resident for 180 days to be entitled to a health-support payment or eligible for the provision of health services without charge.

“We see no rational connection between the potential harm suffered and the length-of-stay requirement, and therefore believe that all persons who were resident in an institution for any length of time should be eligible for a health-support payment or health services without charge,” IHREC said in a statement.


IHREC has also called for the removal of a rule that excludes mothers who were resident for less than six months from access to the enhanced medical card.

The human-rights body also argues that reparations should not be limited to those resident in institutions that were investigated by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

IHREC’s director Deirdre Malone said that the body was “gravely concerned” that some people who were resident in Mother and Baby Institutions, or who were boarded out, were “arbitrarily excluded” from redress.

“The scheme must be amended so that all arbitrary criteria, such as the 180-day eligibility rule, does not exclude victims and survivors of relevant institutions from redress,” she added.

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