The Shame of Ireland
From the record of Dail Eireann
Maureen O’Connell, a deputy of the Dail, responded to allegations that babies were being taken from England to Ireland then sold for export saying;
‘In three years 523 babies have been sent to America.’
The full extent of Baby Trafficking in the Republic of Ireland, where the first Adoption Law was passed in 1959, is still emerging.
Baby Trafficking in the Republic of Ireland is referred to as ‘Informal Adoption’. In reality it is the stealing and selling of babies.
Between the 1930’s and the 1960’s an estimated 60,000 newborns were procured under false pretences for married couples that had been turned down as prospective adoptive parents on various grounds.
The perpetrators of Baby Trafficking broke the law, forged documents, destroyed evidence, took babies from young mothers on the pretext of arranging legal adoptions.
Amongst those implicated are priests, nuns, midwives and nurses who were paid to break the law and steal babies from their unmarried mothers, then smuggled them to married couples who brought them up as their own flesh and blood.
Large amounts of money changed hands to ensure the entire illegal episode was hushed up.
Baby Trafficking was extremely lucrative, as Kevin Conney of the Adopted Peoples Association in Dublin explains:
‘A woman discovered that her ‘adoptive parents’ made a donation of IR£650 to the local priest, the equivalent of about IR£6,000 today.’
Adult victims of the Republics Baby Trafficking, some of them shipped to America as babies, faced a conspiracy of silence and total absence of records when they attempt to discover their true identity.
Unmarried mothers whose babies were stolen then sold have no rights and no one is obliged to help them.
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The nuns, with the collusion of the state, even sold the women’s babies. “Pat” told journalist Mike Milotte about the American couples who came to the home looking for a baby to adopt and her heartbreak when her son was taken to be adopted:
They had to be physically perfect, and none of the black babies that were there were ever selected ... No one ever discussed adoption with me ... I was just called over by one of the nuns and told he was going the next day ... I remember so clearly, bringing him down to the side door, hugging him, cuddling him and kissing him, and he was just swiped out of my arms by a nun.
These offences did not take place in the dim, distant past - this is all living memory.
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