After a report became known about the “appalling” mortality rate among Irish single mother babies between 1922 and 1998 in those centers run by the Catholic Church, the institution made “its excuses without reservation”.
After the publication of the devastating report, the Irish Archbishop Eamon Martin described the event as “a dark chapter in the life of the Church and of society.”
This report It was entrusted by the Government in 2015 to an investigative commission and its results show how young single pregnant women (56,000 in the period studied) were hidden for years from society.
The text also denounces the high rate of infant mortality before the year of life, in the 18 centers studied, a figure that the same report describes as “appalling”. The document highlights that “about 9,000 children from these institutions died”, that is, about “15% of all the children who were in those homes.”
The mission of these institutions was to welcome girls and young women who were rejected by their families who had no other “alternative”. The children that were born were considered illegitimate and were normally separated from their mothers for adoption, breaking all ties with their biological families.
The report assures that before 1960, these homes did not “save the lives of illegitimate children” and that on the contrary “they seemed to reduce the survival prospects of these minors.”
“We are sorry that so many babies have died”
“I recognize that the Church was part of this culture where people were frequently stigmatized, judged or rejected,” Eamon Martin said in his statement.
“For that, and for the lasting pain and emotional anguish that resulted, I sincerely apologize to the survivors and to all those who have been personally touched by the realities the report reveals.”
The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, a congregation of nuns that owned and ran three of the largest homes for minors in Ireland in the period under review, also reacted to these revelations.
“The death of babies while in our care causes us great pain,” the group wrote in a statement.
“We sincerely regret that so many babies have died, particularly in the Bessborough home in the 1940s (75% of the babies in this home died in 1943, according to the report). And we also want to acknowledge the terrible suffering and loss that the mothers suffered. “
A “dark, difficult and shameful chapter in the history of Ireland”
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said on Tuesday that the country must “face the truth of (its) past” and acknowledged that the young women and their children who passed through these homes had paid a high tribute to “religious morality. wicked “of Ireland in decades past.
“We had a completely warped attitude when it came to sexuality and intimacy. These young mothers and their sons and daughters paid a terrible price for this dysfunction,” he continued.
The Irish Head of Government presented a formal apology to those affected by the scandal in Parliament this Wednesday, January 13, which he described as “a dark, difficult and shameful chapter in recent Irish history.”
“The report makes clear that for decades Ireland has had a suffocating, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture (with) a widespread stigma against single mothers and their children,” said Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman.
The Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Mother & Baby Homes can be accessed here:
List of Government actions in response to the Report and a list of supports for anyone who may need them can be accessed here:
– Roderic O’Gorman TD (@rodericogorman) January 12, 2021
An association that groups the survivors, described the report as “really shocking”, although it regretted that the text does not fully reflect the role played by the State in the management of these institutions.
“What happened was just one facet of the newly established state that was profoundly anti-women both in its laws and in its culture,” emphasized the group, which believes that Micheál Martin’s statement, stating that Irish society was to blame, It is a way to “free yourself from responsibilities.”
This report should have consequences quickly. According to ‘The Irish Times’, the Irish Government is expected to submit proposals for a reparation plan by April 30, with financial compensation paid to the survivors. The religious orders that ran these homes will also be asked to contribute to financial compensation.
Legal changes will also be made to give survivors the right to access summaries, including adoption records.
This article was adapted from its original in French