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back-up tapes 'Lost' recordings of mother and baby home survivors retrieved

Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman told a Dáil committee he was told by the commission the records had been destroyed.

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Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said he hopes the tapes do contain the confidential recordings (Niall Carson/PA)

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said he hopes the tapes do contain the confidential recordings (Niall Carson/PA)

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said he hopes the tapes do contain the confidential recordings (Niall Carson/PA)

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes has retrieved back-up tapes of recordings of first-hand accounts of the institutions.

Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman told a Dáil committee he was told by the commission the records had been destroyed.

However, in a statement yesterday from the Department of Children, it was confirmed the tapes were recovered from off-site storage.

The department said an IT expert had checked first to ensure they were retrievable by testing a random sample.

The commission then agreed to deposit the recordings with the department.

This was in keeping with other actions it is taking to transfer the rest of the archive to the minister, who will become data controller next week.

"The retrieval of audio recordings from the back-up tapes and their imminent transfer to my department now provides another avenue for the people who appeared before the committee to access their personal data," Mr O'Gorman said.

Eighty people have asked for their interview with the confidential committee to be redacted. The minister said this will be "respected".

"My department will liaise with the commission as current data controller in this regard," he said.

"If any of the people who appeared before the committee consider their record is inaccurate or incomplete, they will be able to exercise their GDPR rights."

The department said it will continue preparations to become data controller of the homes archive from February 28 and will continue to engage with the Data Protection Commission.

It will shortly publish information on how people can access their data.

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Each interview was attended by two commission staff.

The commission said the interviews were audio record- ed to ensure the account of the survivors' experience - which would later inform a report - were reflected accurately.

The commission said the process ensured the experience of 550 people was "heard and documented in an accurate manner".


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