Congratulations on your success in the election.
We are members of the Human Rights Law Clinic at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. We are conducting research and activism regarding Ireland’s history of institutional abuse, and the continuing human rights violations caused by the State and Church’s refusal to provide all available information to those affected.
You may have received a similar email to this sent before the election.
We are writing to you once more, following your successful election, to ask:
Will you support the establishment of a National Archive of Historical Institutional and Care-Related Records if you are elected?
We will be publishing candidates’ responses to this question online as we receive them, using the hashtag #Stand4Truth.
In the statement issued this past January by a coalition of 72 survivors, academics and practitioners, you will see the many reasons why this national archive is urgent and essential.
The archive could provide at a minimum:
- Access to full personal files for institutional abuse survivors and those affected by adoption, including women whose children were unlawfully taken from them;
- Access for family members of those who died while in custody or care to information about their relative’s fate and whereabouts;
- An opportunity for survivors and others to deposit testimony and other information for public access now or in the future;
- Public access to the administrative records of the systems of institutionalisation and adoption in 20th century Ireland, whether currently held by private or State bodies; and
- The extra staffing, training and records management infrastructure (physical and digital) required at the National Archives or appointed body in order to achieve the above.
You may have read recently in the news that Dublin City Council has agreed a new plan for the Sean McDermott Street site, to include education, housing and a substantial memorial to all those who have experienced institutional abuse in Ireland.
We believe that a National Archive as outlined above could form an extremely valuable part of a living memorial, being a place which helps survivors and others affected to obtain information about their own lives, and also a place which ensures the public is educated so as to prevent similar abuses in future. We do not propose that survivors should be forced to contribute information to this archive; rather they should be invited, if they wish, to contribute their testimony or records to the national historical record.
Please let us know at your earliest convenience whether you will work to ensure that a National Archive of Historical Institutional and Care-related Records is established. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
NUI Galway – Irish Centre for Human Rights
LLM Candidates International Human Rights Law