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Minister Roderic O’Gorman, whose department is set to receive the Commission’s data, says he has been informed that backup cassette tapes of survivors “may” exist.

The Commission informed me yesterday that it had become aware of the off-site backup tapes, which may – and I must point out – may contain – the audio files of the personal accounts given to the Confidential Committee, “Minister Roderic OGorman, Minister of Ireland for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth detected during a debate Friday.

O’Gorman said he was informed of these backup tapes after requesting that the commission “exhaust all possibilities to obtain interview data” that was conducted as part of the confidential commission in the area of ​​the Commission of Inquiry into Mothers and Infants Homes.

O’Gorman said Friday he was awaiting a response from the commission which was asked to arrange for the tapes and their contents to be “made urgently available to my Department as part of the archive transfer that has begun to take place”.

O’Gorman added: “I emphasize that I do not want to raise unfair expectations for these tapes. I very much hope they contain the audio recordings of the 549 people who agreed to record, but it will not last until the tapes are made. Retrieved, reconnected with the native IT system and transferred to my Department that my Department will be able to ascertain this for a fact.We are all aware that sometimes technology can disappoint us.

“These tapes are backups in the form of disaster recovery tapes and that is their function. If the recordings are on those tapes, then I will have to decide, in light of the legal advice given by the Attorney General, to to what extent the material in those tapes can be made lawfully available “.

This discovery of potential backup cassettes comes just days after O’Gorman said during a debate on 16 February that he “became aware of the deletion of the recorded evidence of those who had given personal account before the confidential committee when I read the report. it is stated in one of the chapters describing how the commission functioned.

He added: “In the report, the commission indicated that it had done so in accordance with what it understood to be its obligations under the data protection law.

“I know that since the report came out, the people who testified before the confidential committee have argued that they did not understand it as the commission. The commission circulated a document saying it would seek permission to register personal accounts before the confidential commission. the document is not about deletion.The Commission has stated in all correspondence with me that it sought consent to delete these tapes.

“However, I acknowledge that a number of survivors have come forward to say that their consent was not sought. It is problematic when survivors say they are not being heard.”

Later, on February 18, TD Niamh Smyth, addressing Minister OGorman in Dail, called for the legal life of the Commission of Inquiry into Mothers ‘and Babies’ Homes to be extended in the hope of providing more time to obtain credible evidence. to have lost

Smyth said: I do not believe that in this time and age, one day and the age of technology at best, those proofs cannot be taken. Must be taken. Therefore, I believe that we should extend the entire legal life of the Commission.

But we must remember that survivors have rights and under the GDPR, their rights have been violated. And just for that reason, we must act now and extend the life of the Commission. This is what the state owes them, at least – the transparency, the transparency they deserve.

Noting that he understands the anger of the survivors, TD Smyth, Minister OGorman said: The Commission is independent in its functioning. They said that each witness on the confidential committee was given a guarantee of complete anonymity and therefore the tapes were deleted.

The Commission has repeatedly stated that this process and the accompanying actions were carried out with the knowledge of the survivors.

However, it is clear that some survivors do not share that view.

OGorman says he has worked intensively with the Attorney General, the Data Protection Commissioner and the Commission of Inquiry on deleting audio tapes in order to reach a solution that ensures that the voices of survivors are heard.

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