Mortonhall parents want location of babies’ ashes
SOLICITORS acting on behalf of some of the grieving parents in the Mortonhall scandal are to ask the city council for information revealing the location of their babies’ ashes.
Several parents have submitted Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the council in a bid to find out what happened to their child’s remains.
However, at last night’s Mortonhall Ashes Action Committee (MAAC) meeting, they said their requests for private details had been refused as a result of the ongoing investigation.
Thompsons Solicitors is now preparing to submit a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act to the council’s lawyers on behalf of any parents wish to access the information.
A Subject Access Request is a written, signed request from an individual to see information held on them.
The requests will be submitted within days, with a response expected before the end of the month.
A senior QC, former lord advocate Dame Elish Angiolini, was appointed last month to lead an independent inquiry into practices at Mortonhall and across the country.
But MAAC is pushing for a Scottish Government-led public inquiry into the failure of bosses at the council-owned crematorium to pass on babies’ ashes over a 45-year period.
MAAC chair Willie Reid, who launched a petition in December calling on the SNP government to launch a probe, said he was among parents who had their FOI requests rejected.
The 46-year-old, from Bathgate, is among hundreds of parents searching for answers.
Mr Reid never received the ashes of his daughter, Donna, who died shortly after birth and was cremated in 1988.
He said: “When I heard the news about Mortonhall, I phoned the crematorium and they told me that my daughter was part of the investigation and her ashes had been buried within the Garden of Remembrance.
“I wrote to the council saying I wanted confirmation of where my daughter was. They wrote to me on January 11 saying that they wouldn’t give me the information as it was currently exempt from disclosure because the release of the information at this time could prejudice the current investigation process.
“I can’t see any rhyme or reason behind it. I think any way we can get that information is needed for peace of mind.”
Sarah Smith, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Under regulations, they have to keep a register of all cremations carried out. I don’t see why providing the information would prejudice the ongoing investigation, which is much broader and to do with policies at the time.”
A council spokesman said the details the parents were seeking were part of what was being examined in the investigation and the authority did not want to give out information which might later have to be corrected, causing even more upset.
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