The Minister for Children has moved to widen access to a redress scheme for survivors of mother and baby homes beyond the terms recommended by the commission of investigation.

Women who spent less than six months in the homes and those in residence after 1974 are likely to be included when Roderic O’Gorman seeks Cabinet approval for the plan in coming weeks.

The Irish Times reports that officials are now working on the basis that the scheme will cost €700 million-€800 million, with thousands of potential beneficiaries.

That’s below the €1 billion thought to be needed to provide “modest redress” to survivors, but some senior Coalition figures believe the ultimate bill may yet come close to €900 million.

The push to broaden the scheme follows controversy over the Commission of Investigation report into the institutions and its handling of survivors’ testimony.

Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy, who chaired the inquiry, rejected such criticism.

The commission suggested six months as the cut-off point for redress in its January report, because it was the average length of time that women spent in homes in other countries.

The commission also said women who were in county homes, the Tuam home and those who worked outside the institutions without pay should be eligible.

While Government has indicated it will seek a significant financial contribution from religious bodies involved in running homes, there will be no formal talks until the scheme is approved by the Cabinet.

The Minister said in July that He hoped to open the scheme to applications “as soon as possible in 2022”.

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