Legality Of Collecting DNA From Mother And Baby Homes Survivors To Be Examined

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, has confirmed that the Terms of Reference and timeline have been set for an examination of legal options regarding DNA sampling in connection with the former Mother and Baby Home at Tuam.

Dr Zappone requested Dr Geoffrey Shannon to consider what actions may be possible under existing laws following a call from the Tuam Home Survivors' Network.

The Network called on Government to begin collecting their DNA samples immediately in light of the age profile and health status of survivors.

The purpose of collecting samples would be to compare against any DNA profiles which may be generated from the juvenile human remains found at the site and, if possible, to make positive identifications.

Making the announcement, Minister Zappone said: "These issues will ultimately be addressed within the bespoke legislation that is currently being scoped by my Department. However, I am very sympathetic to the concerns of survivors that their ages and health profiles introduce an element of urgency.

"Accordingly, I have asked Dr Geoffrey Shannon to consider what may be possible within the current legislative framework, with particular reference to:

• the collection of biological samples for comparison purposes;

• the extent to which any relevant family rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights might apply; and

• how best to ensure that the rights of those who wish to give biological samples could be safeguarded in respect of sensitive personal data and informed consent.

"Dr Shannon will consult with my officials in the course of his work and provide a report to me within 8 weeks."


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