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IASW Statement on Report of the Commission into the Mother and Baby Homes

For Immediate Release 15th February 2021

IASW Statement 

The Irish Association of Social Workers apologises unreservedly for the pain and distress caused by the failings of social work, outlined in the Report of the Commission into the Mother and Baby Homes. The report provides examples of times when the social work profession did not provide compassionate support, failed to uphold basic human rights, and failed to challenge the social and institutional injustices, which caused such devastation in the lives of women and children.  We have heard the powerful and brave testimonies of the survivors.  The IASW will now reflect on how we can best respond to what we have learned and continue to learn from the survivors.

Notes for editors:

  • Commenting on the implications of the Commission Report, IASW Chair, Áine McGuirk, said: “The testimony of the survivors provides powerful evidence of what happens when we are silent or complicit in the face of injustice. A core principle of social work practice is our commitment to speak up and challenge social injustice and the IASW is committed to providing a space for our members to advocate for positive social change.  The testimonies of the survivors are a powerful motivator in that work.”
  • IASW Board Member and Spokesperson, Mr. Vivian Geiran, added: “We thank the survivors for their courage and testimony and stand in solidarity with them as they call for action on the key issues which matter most to them.”
  • “The IASW is developing a response to ensure that the lessons from the testimonies inform our contemporary work with survivors and others who are marginalised and silenced in Irish society.”
  • “The IASW encourages all social workers to use their professional association to highlight and challenge both social injustice and organisational culture that fails to support the human rights of those we work with.”
  • The Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) is the professional body representing social workers in Ireland. There are 4,700 registered social workers in Ireland.  These include social workers in the community health and social care sector, medical and psychiatric social workers, those working in adult safeguarding and elder care, learning disability, probation and criminal justice, addictions, occupational social work, the community and voluntary sector, education, and training, as well as in a number of independent settings. 

Aine McGuirk

Chair of IASW

Press Contact: Vivian Geiran through the IASW Office: 086 024 1055

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