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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The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bons Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway

The I Newspaper: “Survivors of Ireland’s notorious homes for ‘fallen women’ where babies were ‘left to die’ speak out”

Catch IWSSN today on pg 26 in The i Newspaper, where our work in supporting the Irish investigation into Mother-and-Baby Homes is covered. Powerfully, clients of ours who are survivors of these homes, speak out about their experiences and the ordeals they suffered from as a result of the Mother-and-Baby Homes.

Two years ago this month, a local historian made a shocking discovery in Tuam, Ireland. In a gravesite near a Mother-and-Baby Home where unmarried women were sent to give birth, the remains of 800 babies were found in a septic tank. This sparked outrage in Ireland and across the world, and an independent investigation was launched to look into what took place at these homes, where over 35,000 women were thought to have been sent.

This article marks this anniversary and appeals to those who have information or experience relating to these homes, to come forward and give evidence confidentially. Please contact us on 0207 267 9997 to find out more.

Click here to read the full article.



iwssn-by-josh-jones 087

International Women’s Day: A Time to Recognise and Celebrate Irish Survivors of Institutional Care

IWSSN would like to wish our own clients and women across the world, Happy International Women’s Day.

We are proud  to be an organisations that has campaigned for justice and equality for Survivors of Irish institutional care, including those who were incarcerated in Magdalene laundries. We are also incredibly proud of Irish survivors of institutional care who’ve brought down every barrier they’ve been confronted with in their lives, who have fought to secure justice and have moved on their lives.

Irish Survivors are called ‘survivors’ for a reason. After all, whilst these individuals may have been victims of neglect, abuse and assault, they survived it, and deserve to be recognised for their resilience rather than what happened to them.

Find out more about Irish survivors and their impressive resilience here.




Magdalene Laundry

Derry Journal: ‘Magdalene Laundries inquiry move welcomed’

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Maeve McLaughlin, has welcomed a new working group to look into a possible inquiry around Magdalene Laundries and mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland.

The Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland were institutions run by the Catholic Church for decades with the knowledge of the State.

Ms McLaughlin said: “I welcome the agreement from the Executive to set up an interdepartmental working group led by the Department of Health to make recommendations on the scope of any proposed inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene laundries.

“The working group will bring its recommendations to the Executive within six months.”

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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?

Click here to read the full article.


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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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.

Click here to read the full article.