Tag Archives: Commission of Investigation Mother and Baby Homes

This afternoon.

The 2,865-page final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes has been published.

It can be read in full here.

From the executive summary:

The story of mother and baby homes in Ireland is complex and its nuances cannot easily be captured in a summary. The Commission’s Terms of Reference cover the period 1922 – 1998, a span of 76 years.

There was great change in that period: massive improvements in living conditions and changes in attitudes to religion and morals. The experience of women and children in the 1920s was vastly different from the experience in the 1990s regardless of where they lived.

The institutions under investigation changed considerably over the period: the two largest institutions were in operation for the entire period but they were very different institutions in 1998 than they were in 1922. Ireland was a cold harsh environment for many, probably the majority, of its residents during the earlier half of the period under remit. It was especially cold and harsh for women.

All women suffered serious discrimination. Women who gave birth outside marriage were subject to particularly harsh treatment. Responsibility for that harsh treatment rests mainly with the fathers of their children and their own immediate families. It was supported by, contributed to, and condoned by, the institutions of the State and the Churches. However, it must be acknowledged that the institutions under investigation provided a refuge – a harsh refuge in some cases – when the families provided no refuge at all.

Improvements in society generally and in the institutions came gradually. Significant changes included the introduction of free postprimary education in the 1960s and the changes consequent on membership of the then EEC from 1973. 1973 also saw the introduction of the Unmarried Mother’s Allowance; this was the first time a direct State payment was available to assist an unmarried woman to rear her child in the community.

A separate report of the confidential committee to the commission can be read here.

Meanwhile, earlier:

Some initial reaction to Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman’s meeting with survivors of mother and baby homes via a webinar, ahead of the final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes being made available to the wider public.

Survivors receiving long-awaited report on mother-and-baby homes (RTÉ)


“Many women would get on the ferry to Holyhead, present themselves to adoption agencies in Britain and would find themselves being repatriated, sent back to Ireland, in some instances before they gave birth, in some instances after.”

Paul Michael Garrett, Social work and Irish people in Britain

Last night.

Dr Lorraine Grimes, (top left) of NUIG, joined Mother and Baby Home adoptee and activist Eunan Duffy (bottom right) and Breeda Murphy (bottom left), spokeswoman for the Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance, to discuss Irish mothers who went to England.

The third in a series of shows looking at aspects of the Mother and Baby Home regime ahead of publication of the report of the Commission of Investigation commencing the week of January 11.

Previously: Secrets Of Bessboro

Trafficked With Three Birth Certs



From top: Mothers and babies at St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home, Navan Road, Dublin in the late 1960s.; Solicitor Rod Baker

You may recall how a Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was launched last year.

Further to this…

Rod Baker, a consultant at Hogan Lovells, writes in the Solicitors Journal:

A team of lawyers from Hogan Lovells is assisting the Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) and Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) in a project aimed at assisting people affected by the Mother and Baby Homes.

This assistance, which is provided on a pro bono basis, involves helping individuals prepare statements setting out their experiences, which can then be sent to the Commission of Investigation.

The long-term ambition is to create a database of evidence that will enable ARA and JFMR to make collective submissions to the commission based on the evidence gathered.

These submissions will relate not only to the findings the commission should make about what happened in the homes and how they operated within the state system, but also to the recommendations the commission should make to improve the status of, and information available to, adopted people.

For example, adopted people are not entitled to a copy of their birth certificate (a document that we might each think would be ours as of right) without first providing a statutory declaration that they will not try to contact their natural parents.

This project is known as Clann (the Irish word for family)…It is hoped that the Clann project will assist those affected by the Mother and Baby Homes, many of whom are elderly or vulnerable, to tell their stories.

We also hope that being able to provide the commission with evidence in an organised and comprehensive form will be of assistance to it in what ought to be the production of an exhaustive report exposing the detail of an uncomfortable chapter in Ireland’s history.

Helping Ireland’s unmarried mothers tell their stories (Solicitors Journal)

Hogan Lovells

H/T: Claire McGettrick

Previously: ‘Must Be Mounted On A Crucifix’

Pic by Margaret Moloney via ‘Fallen Women’ project by Emer Gillespie