RTE: ‘Commission investigating Mother and Baby Homes will not examine illegal adoptions’

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes will not be asked to examine illegal adoptions that took place outside such institutions.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said the plight of the dwindling number of survivors of the Protestant-run Bethany Home was one reason she had asked the commission to advise on whether the investigation’s scope should be widened.

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Enda Kenny TD - Irish State Apology - BBC Image

Novara Wire – Magdalene Laundries: ‘My life changed the day the state said sorry’

Novara Wire covered the third anniversary of the Irish state apology to women who were incarcerated in Ireland’s infamous Magdalene laundries.

A client of ours, ‘Mary C’ tells her sad but powerful story about her experiences of a laundry, the challenges she faced throughout her life because of the stigma and prejudice and the disadvantages she endured.

Importantly, ‘Mary C’ shares how her life changed the day the Irish state issued a formal apology to all the women who were incarcerated…

“Three years ago last month, the Irish government issued a state apology to survivors of the country’s infamous Magdalene laundries. That apology meant everything to me, just like it did for thousands of other women incarcerated for little more than being confident or poor. I bore deep scars from my time in a laundry.

“Born in a Mother-and-Baby Home in Dublin, Ireland, my mother –just like 35,000 others – was forced to give me up because she wasn’t married. The court ordered for my transferral to an orphanage in Kilkenny when I was two.”

Read the full article here.

Credit: Irish Central

Irish Times: ‘Illegal adoptions pose complications in searches for birth parents’

Paula Douglas has known she was adopted from as early as she can remember. Her Irish mother Lil Holmes told her when she was four.

Yet, she remained puzzled. According to her birth certificate, her adoptive parents, Ronn and Lil Holmes, were her natural parents. When she was growing up she celebrated her birthday on April 9th, the day her parents “adopted” her, but her date of birth was April 2nd, 1959.

Thousands of Irish children were adopted in the United States. The film Philomena was based on the true story of Philomena Lee and her search for her son Michael Hess, who became White House counsel to US Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W Bush.

Mrs Douglas’s story is different in that there was never any evidence that an adoption took place. Her cousin had been adopted from St Patrick’s Guild. She contacted the guild to be told they had nothing in their files suggesting she was either born there or had been adopted from it.

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Bessborough Mother-and-Baby Home, Ireland

Irish Examiner: ‘Grave situation: Deaths at Bessborough don’t add up’

Religious order reported to the State that 353 babies died in Bessborough, but its own register showed 80 fewer deaths. A report found a system of ‘human trafficking’ in which ‘women and babies were considered little more than a commodity for trade’.

The revelation that the order which operated the Bessborough Mother and Baby home was reporting higher numbers of infant deaths to the State than it recorded in its own death register raises some serious questions.

So far, the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary have declined to offer any answers. The order says it will only deal with the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. It can only be hoped that Judge Yvonne Murphy can get some answers. It is imperative she does.

One question is straightforward: Why was the order informing the State of higher numbers of infant deaths in Bessborough than it was recording in it’s own death register?

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Bessborough Mother-and-Baby Home, Ireland

Irish Times: ‘Baby deaths at Cork home subject of State inquiry’

A State commission of inquiry is to investigate the number of baby deaths at a Cork Mother and Baby Home after it emerged that official records differ sharply from those held by the convent.

Bessborough, run by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, told the Department of Local Government and Public Health that 353 infants died at the Blackrock home between 1939 and 1944.

However, records held by the convent, reported by the Irish Examiner, show that 273 children died in its care, raising concerns that the remainder were given away in clandestine adoptions.

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Magdalene Laundry

Irish Sunday Business Post – Most vulnerable Magdalene survivors to be compensated under new law

The Irish Sunday Business Post reported on the long-awaited Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill that was passed by the Dáil recently.


Reporting on the passing of the bill, the Irish Sunday Business Post reported:


‘Around 40 Magdalene Laundry survivors with intellectual disabilities are finally going to be paid compensation thanks to the passage of new legislation.

Although more than 500 women received lump sums of up to €100,000 over the past year, it was not possible for compensation to be given to those who lacked the capacity to apply to the scheme.

But the long-awaited Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill passed by the Dáil will allow this to happen.

It will provide for Magdalene Laundry survivors with capacity issues to have a person appointed by a court apply for compensation on their behalf, or to appoint a supporter to help them do so. An estimated 10,000 women did unpaid manual labour in the country’s ten such laundries between 1922 and 1996.

Fine Gael TD David Stanton, who chaired the justice committee hearings into the bill, said it would change the way the courts deal with people with capacity issues.’


Charlotte Gerada, Campaigns and Policy Advisor for IWSSN commented:


‘IWSSN was very keen that the benefits of the compensation go to the 40 survivors with capacity issues and not to opportunistic legal firms.

‘Very few of the 79 women that our organisation had helped to apply to the scheme had hired a lawyer.

‘Whilst most lawyers have accepted the non-adversarial, straightforward application process, there are a few who continue to see the scheme as an opportunity to generate income – putting it politely.’


Read the full article here.

Magdalene Laundry, Ireland

Irish Times: ‘Women take action over labour at Magdalene laundry’

Four women who claim they were used as forced labour in a Magdalene laundry have brought High Court proceedings challenging the refusal to admit them to the State’s compensation scheme for survivors. The Magdalene laundry compensation scheme was set up by the Government in 2013.

The basis for the women’s exclusion is that, while it is accepted that they had worked at St Mary’s Refuge Magdalene Laundry at High Park Convent, Drumcondra, Dublin, they were not actually admitted to that institution. Instead, they had been admitted to An Grianán Institution, located in the grounds of the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge, High Park, Grace Park Road, Drumcondra. An Grianán was deemed a separate and specific institution to the laundry.

The women claim that while they were residents at An Grianán they were forced to perform labour for no pay at the laundry every weekday.

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Credit: Irish Central

Irish Examiner: ‘Scrutinise Protestant mother and baby homes, says Church of Ireland Bishop’

Church of Ireland Bishop Paul Colton was so moved by the experience of a survivor of the Westbank orphanage that he has called for all Protestant homes to be included in the Mother and Baby Home investigation.

In a letter to the head of the Mother and Baby Home Commission, Judge Yvonne Murphy, Dr Colton said he had been contacted by Victor Stevenson with an enquiry about Cork Mother and Baby Home, Braemar House.

Although the institution was not formally linked to the Church of Ireland, Dr Colton was so moved at a “human level” by Mr Stevenson’s life story, that he has called on Judge Murphy to call on Children’s Minister James Reilly to widen the scope of the inquiry to include Protestant Mother and Baby Homes.

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Bessborough Mother-and-Baby Home, Ireland ‘Over 9,000 Irish women or ‘inmates’ went through these doors, forced to repent’

Paul Redmond tells the journal what he learned about St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home in Dublin.

Saint Patrick’s was by far the largest of the nine Mother and Baby homes in terms of the numbers who passed through and approximately 9,000 to 12,000 women and girls went through it’s doors. It was also a massive ‘holding centre’ in it’s own right for unaccompanied babies and children. It was certified for 149 beds for unmarried mothers and 560 cots/beds for babies and children.

Babies and children who passed away were sent for burial to the national Angel’s Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in north Dublin. There are two periods when exact numbers of deaths are known and rough estimates from other years would indicate that at least 2,000 and possibly above 3,000 babies and children died during its 81 years of operation on the Navan Road.

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