Mother-and-Baby Homes Investigation

Independent Commission of Inquiry which is seeking evidence

What is the background to this investigation?

In June 2014, a mass grave in a concrete tank was found at convent-run Mother-and-Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway. The discovery of the remains of 800 children sparked shock and concern about the high number of deaths at this particular home, especially as not all of the deaths had been properly recorded.

After these findings, Survivors, Survivor groups and human rights organisations lobbied the Irish government to investigate the conditions and practices at Mother-and-Baby Homes. The government agreed to an investigation and that would not just look at the home in Tuam, because over the last century, Ireland had Mother-and-Baby Homes right across the whole country. The Tuam home was one of 10 institutions of which about 35,000 unmarried pregnant women are thought to have been sent.

What is the Commission and what does it cover?

In September 2014, it was announced that the Inquiry would be chaired by Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy and in January 2015, the Terms of Reference for a Commission of Investigation into Mother-and-Baby Homes was approved.

The main details include:

  • The inquiry will last for 36 months;
  • An Independent Commission will be set-up to take evidence;
  • The investigation will cover the period from 1922 to 1998 but the Commission may consider evidence from outside of this range;
  • The Commission will create a Confidential Committee to provide a confidential forum for Survivors to give evidence, or for those who worked or interacted with the institutions;
  • 14 institutions will be investigated (please see full list at the end of this page).

What areas will the Commission investigate?

The areas the Commission will investigate includes:

  • The entry and exit pathways of those resident in the homes;
  • The living conditions and care arrangements;
  • Mortality amongst mothers and children at the homes;
  • Post-mortem practices and procedures;
  • Extent of compliance with relevant regulatory and ethical standards of the time with regards to vaccine trials;
  • Arrangements for the entry of children;
  • Exit pathways for children;
  • The practices and procedures for placement of children in Ireland or abroad;
  • Extent to which any group of residents may have systematically been treated differently on any grounds (such as religion, race, traveller identity or disability).

How is the Commission taking evidence?

The Commission is now taking evidence via a Confidential Committee and evidence can either be taken in Dublin, Ireland or the UK. The Commission will cover basic travel and accommodation costs for those giving evidence and will uphold the greatest level of confidentiality and privacy throughout.

Alternatively, if travelling to Dublin is not preferable or possible, we are currently working with the Commission to organise a time that the Confidential Committee can come over to the UK to take evidence in London.

Who is invited to give evidence?

The Commission is keen to hear from a variety of individuals, including:

  • Those who were resident in a Mother-and-Baby Home (as a baby or mother);
  • Those who worked in a Mother-and-Baby Home;
  • Those who visited or engaged with a Mother-and-Baby Home;
  • The partners, family members or friends of those who were resident in a Mother-and-Baby Home.

How can I give evidence?

If you (as a child or mother) were resident in a Mother-and-Baby Home in Ireland, (or if you know someone who was) and would like to find out more about the Inquiry or about giving evidence, please feel free to contact us by calling 0207 267 9997 or emailing info@irishsurvivorsuk.org.uk. The Inquiry has now begun taking evidence, and we are working with the Commission to ensure that UK-based Survivors and their families have the opportunity to talk about their experiences. We can also offer support with giving evidence, as we have done in previous Irish government inquiries – we can help any interested individuals with starting the process to give evidence, and we can liaise with the Commission on your behalf.

OR

Feel free to contact the Commission directly, as they will be able to inform you of next steps.

To make a confidential call to the Commission from outside of the Republic of Ireland, the number to dial is: 00 353 1 6445088.

The opening hours for the Confidential phone line are as follows:

Monday to Friday (excluding Irish Bank Holidays)

10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm.

Or contact the via email at: info@mbhcoi.ie

Or by Post: Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation

73 Lower Baggot St, Dublin 2
or
P.O. Box 12626, Dublin 2

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The Mother-and-Baby Homes to be investigated are as follows:

1) Ard Mhuire, Dunboyne, Co Meath;

2) Belmont (Flatlets), Belmont Ave, Dublin 4;

3) Bessboro House, Blackrock, Cork;

4) Bethany Home, originally Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 and from 1934 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6;

5) Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home, Tuam, Co. Galway;

6) Denny House, Eglington Rd, Dublin 4, originally Magdalen Home, 8 Lower Leeson St, Dublin 2;

7) Kilrush, Cooraclare Rd, Co. Clare;

8) Manor House, Castlepollard, Co Westmeath;

9) Ms. Carr’s (Flatlets), 16 Northbrook Rd, Dublin 6;

10) Regina Coeli Hostel, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7, and

11) Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, Co Tipperary;

12) St. Gerard’s, originally 39, Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1.

13) St. Patrick’s, Navan Road, Dublin 7, originally known as Pelletstown; and subsequent transfer to Eglington House, Eglington Rd, Dublin 4, and

14) The Castle, Newtowncunningham, Co. Donegal.

Please get in touch if you need …