Latest investigation into Ireland's mother and baby homes releases report

An Irish government inquiry found that the lives -- and deaths -- of the children in the homes were chronically underreported. On top of this, the bodies of deceased children were often given to medical facilities for anatomical dissections. 

Eliza Archer
Eliza Archer NewsMavens, Europe
Latest investigation into Ireland's mother and baby homes releases report - NewsMavens
Tuam Children's Home, YouTube

Why this story matters:

According to the report issued by the inquiry, Ireland's church-run “mother and baby homes” would offer the bodies of children who had passed to medical schools up until 1977. Their bodies were then used for dissection for anatomical puposes -– even though this act is legal, the report labelled the practice “distasteful at a minimum”.

The mother and baby homes housed poor and often unmarried women sent to work due to their “unsocial” or “sinful” behaviour. The children cared for in these homes were often born to single mothers, were housed in homes run by the Roman Catholic Church. It is believed that the bodies of 950 children were sent to these medical facilities.

The homes often neglected to record the births and deaths of these children. Overall the resting place of 1,700 children could not be accounted for. Furthermore, the reasons for their deaths were also not recorded.

The investigators of the report encountered difficulties when seeking cooperation from religious institutions during their research. Evidence from nuns was deemed “in many respects, speculative, inaccurate and misleading”. This reflects the decades of silence that maintained by these institutions in an effort to cover up their past actions.

The story of the Tuam Mother and Baby homes was investigated in a France 24 special and can be viewed here

Details from the story:

  • Local Galway County historian Catherine Corless's initial investigations into the mother-baby home in Tuam sparked further investigations.
  • France 24 released a news story on the home in Tuam in March of 2018.
  • In one of the 13 homes reviewed, Bessborough Home in Cork, there was no information about the burial places of more than 800 children who had died there.
  • The report was conducted by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission.
  • The report suggests that the abuse was more extensive that previously believed. Investigation of the homes is ongoing.
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