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From last night’s BBC2 documentary ‘Ireland’s Lost Babies’, Sacred Heart nun, Sister Sarto Harney, [Mother Superior of Bessborough Mother and Child Home] made a reappearance.

Cathy Deasy, who was adopted, had been trying to trace her mother for years and wrote many times to Sister Sarto. Sister Sarto suggested that her mother was dead.

But Cathy discovered her mother was alive and had spent 35 years in an institution after giving birth to her in a mother and baby home.

She confronted Sister Sarto in 2002 and captured the moment on video.

From 1996, in an RTÉ Prime Time documentary Sister Sarto said:

“I think it is the right of every individual to know their background and we help in any way we can to put people in contact with their parent of origin.”

Earlier this year on TV3, Sister Sarto said in relation to Bessborough Mother and Baby Home that no babies were adopted or vaccinated without the mothers’ permission:

“I think it’s sad that it’s come to this. We gave our lives to looking after the girls and we’re certainly not appreciated for doing it.”

Ireland’s Lost Babies is on RTÉ One tonight at 10:15pm.

Previously: Staying In Tonight?

After Philomena

The Art Of Storytelling

Anything Good On BBC News At Ten?

Cross Her Sacred Heart

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Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger raised the issue of repealing the Eighth Amendment in the Dáil yesterday.

Not to worry.

There’s a report pending.


This afternoon Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and Ruth Coppinger challenged the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar on the Eighth Amendment.

Clare Daly told the Minister to:

“Wise up. You’re a young man. Ireland’s abortion reality and rates are pretty much the same as they are in every other country.”

Mick Wallace asked the Minister,

“Is the Government more focused on the next election than on the suffering caused by the denial of services to women seeking abortions due to rape, incest, fatal foetal abnormality or serious risk to health?”

Ruth Coppinger suggested the referendum on marriage equality and repeal of the Eighth Amendment be held on the same day and said:

“It would be a double endorsement of progress in this country. It would be a signal to the rest of the world that the Catholic Church’s writ doesn’t run despite the wishes of the majority in society and it would be a hammer blow to the Catholic Church’s domination of many areas of life in this country.”

Minister Varadkar replied:

“I think it would be a really bad idea in 2015 if in the run-in to a general election for us to have that kind of debate happening in that millieu because we’ve been there before. That’s exactly what happened in 1983. In the run-up to a general election people were put in a position where they made commitments in the run-in to a general election where maybe they shouldn’t have. So let’s not repeat the mistake of 1983 and have all that again in 2015.
…It shouldn’t be done on foot of a tragedy or a very hard case and it shouldn’t be done on the run-in to a general election.”

Earlier: What Do We Want 


Further to his earlier appearance.

Senator Ronan Mullen speaking in the Seanad earlier on the issue of Direct Provision:

The treatment of women in the system is deplorable. There are several male-only reception centres in the State. But there are none which provide solely for women. Many women who seek asylum in the State are fleeing the most gruesome and most unimaginable conditions sometimes involving sexual abuse or rape. And for these victims to be placed in a system where there’s an underlying fear perhaps in some cases of a recurrence of abuse is really shocking.


Listen here.

Download here.

Earlier: A Place Apart

Previously: Say It Ain’t Ro



Legislation to change radically Ireland’s direct provision system will be proposed today.

Independent Senator Rónán Mullen will call on the Government to establish female-only and family-only reception centres and grant the right to seek employment.

He said managing an asylum policy was never easy for any country but changes in the operation of the direct provision system were needed urgently.

Introduce female-only direct provision centres, says Senator (Mary Minihan, Irish Times)

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Tonight on BBC2, Martin Sixsmith (author of Philomena) goes on a journey to investigate the Irish Catholic Church’s role in an adoption trade which saw thousands of ‘illegitimate’ children taken from their mothers and sent abroad, often with donations to the Church flowing in the other direction.

In Ireland and in America, Martin hears the moving stories of the parents and children whose lives were changed forever and discovers evidence that prospective parents were not properly vetted – sometimes with tragic consequences.

He also witnesses the struggle of mother and child in their attempts to find each other across continents before it is too late. With no one willing to help and information scarce, for some it feels like after all these years the Catholic Church is still trying to keep them apart.

On BBC Two tonight at 9pm and RTÉ One tomorrow at 10:15pm.

Ireland’s Lost Babies (BBC)

Previously: After Philomena

The Art Of Storytelling

Anything Good On BBC News At Ten?