Report to reveal scale of abuse at Ireland’s mother and baby homes

January 14, 2021 Comments Off on Report to reveal scale of abuse at Ireland’s mother and baby homes

Report to reveal scale of abuse at Ireland’s mother and baby homes

Results of investigation expected to tell how 9,000 children died in 18 institutions between 1922 and 1998


Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent  Mon 11 Jan 2021

The grim history of a network of religious institutions in Ireland that abused and shamed unmarried mothers and their children for much of the 20th century is to be laid bare.

A judicial commission of investigation into Ireland’s mother and baby homes has documented shocking death rates and callousness in institutions that doubled as orphanages and adoption agencies.

The mother and baby homes commission is to share a 3,000-page report with survivors of the system on Tuesday. Its five-year investigation was prompted by the discovery of a mass grave of babies and children in Tuam, County Galway.

The taoiseach, Michéal Martin, is to give a formal state apology in the Dáil on Wednesday. Martin, who has read the report, reportedly found the contents shocking and difficult to read.

It estimates 9,000 children died in 18 institutions between 1922 and 1998 when the last such home closed, according to a leak published in the Sunday Independent. The infant mortality rate is said to have been double the national rate, underlining the impact of neglect, malnutrition and disease.

Another source of anger for survivors is the policy of the religious organisations – and the state – to impede them from tracing each other. Ireland denies adopted people the legal right to their own information and files. The report is understood to chronicle many of the lies and obfuscations of priests, nuns and officials.

“It’s a crucial moment. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to come out,” said Anne Harris, 70, who gave birth to a son in an institution in County Cork in 1970. “Irish society was quite rigid and judgmental about children born out of wedlock. These huge institutions were where women were just put away out of sight.”…

The commission was formed in 2014 after a historian, Catherine Corless, found death certificates for nearly 800 children who were residents at Bon Secours mother and baby home in Tuam but burial records for only two. Excavations subsequently found an underground structure divided into 20 chambers containing “significant quantities of human remains”, the commission said in an interim report.

The government apologised on Monday to survivors for the media leak over the weekend, which undermined a promise to give them first access to the report before publication. It is considering compensation and legislation to help mothers and their children trace each other, should they wish….

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/12/report-scale-abuse-ireland-mother-baby-homes

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