The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

Here’s how to make a submission to the mother and baby homes inquiry

Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan has encouraged those who wish to make a submission to “act without delay”.

A headstone for a baby who died at the Bessborough mother and baby home in Blackrock Cork in the mid-1990's.

A NEW EMAIL address for submissions on the terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation into mother and baby homes has been launched.

Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan announced this morning that anyone who wishes to make a submission should contact

Flanagan said that submissions could relate to the institutions or locations that should be considered for inclusion or the general matters that the commission should examine.

The Government is anxious to have the Commission of Investigation established before the Dáil recess and has set a tight deadline. I am urging those who wish to make submissions to act without delay in availing of this opportunity to inform the considerations now underway.

The Minister will meet with a number of advocacy groups and members of other political parties in the coming weeks to discuss the terms of reference.

Flanagan said that the cross-departmental review committee tasked with examining the issue will report to the government before the end of this month.

He had previously confirmed that the scope of the investigation will go beyond the home operated by the Sisters of Bon Secours in Tuam, Co Galway – the site of a mass grave where almost 800 babies are thought to be buried.

The inquiry will deal with other mother and baby homes, including Bethany Home. Flanagan has stated that county homes will not be included however, to avoid “a bottomless quagmire of investigation”.

A number of services have been made available to people affected by the issues raised. Those seeking information on the support services can contact the HSE National Information Line on 1850 24 1850 from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

People can also talk to trained counsellors through Connect, a free out-of-hours support line from 6 pm to 10 pm. The service is normally only available from Wednesday to Sunday, but will expand to a seven-day service until the end of July.

The number is 1800 477 477 in Republic of Ireland and 00800 477 477 77 in Northern Ireland and the UK.

Connect Manager Theresa Merrigan said: “As a service that supports people who were affected by traumatic experiences in Industrial Schools, the Laundries and Mother and Baby Homes we anticipate extra need at this time.”

The National Counselling Service is also available to assist those affected.

People seeing adoption and tracing information have been advised to contact Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) or the Adoption Authority of Ireland.

Views: 1145

Comment by Rob Northall on July 16, 2014 at 11:12

From: Rob Northall []
Sent: 16 July 2014 11:12
To: ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; 'Niall O'Sullivan'
Subject: Mother and Baby Home Enquiry into Child Deaths, Unmarked Graves and Illegal Burial
Dear Mr Reilly,
I would be Grateful if you would Include Industrial Schools in Enquiry into Child Deaths,Unmarked Graves and
and Illegal Burial.
These were Places the Unsold were Placed if they were still alive ?
There were also Nurseries attached to Industrial Schools,
As at St Finbarrs with also had a Laundry Attached to it;
so the interrelationship of Mother & Baby Homes,
Magdalene Laundries & Industrial Schools is fully Established!
i.e. Mother and Baby Home were an entry route to the Industrial Schools.
Laundries also Supplied Babies and Internees of the Industrial Schools!
Industrial Schools had Nurseries Attached to them.
I am also Concerned that there may be unmarked Graveyards associated with All Industrial Schools?
Containing the "Disappeared" Alleged Runaways and those Denied Food or Medical Attention.
To ignore the Dead of the Industrial Schools would be further Abuse on the Living,
who continue to be Ignored and Marginalised by the Government of the Day.
Yours Sincerely
Rob Northall
P.S. You may view this email and what Survivors think of it and Your Subsequent Reply @
Comment by Rob Northall on July 16, 2014 at 12:35

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: 16 July 2014 11:35
To: Rob Northall
Subject: Mother and Baby Home Enquiry into Child Deaths, Unmarked Graves and Illegal Burial

Return Receipt
   Your       Mother and Baby Home Enquiry into Child Deaths, Unmarked     
   document:  Graves and Illegal Burial                                    
   at:        16/07/2014 11:35:14                                          

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Comment by Rob Northall on July 16, 2014 at 12:35

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: 16 July 2014 12:16
To: Rob Northall
Subject: Mother and Baby Home Enquiry into Child Deaths, Unmarked Graves and Illegal Burial

Return Receipt
   Your       Mother and Baby Home Enquiry into Child Deaths, Unmarked     
   document:  Graves and Illegal Burial                                    
   at:        16/07/2014 12:16:15                                          

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Comment by Rob Northall on July 16, 2014 at 18:20
From: []
Sent: 16 July 2014 11:12
Subject: Mother and Baby Homes Terms of Reference of Commission of Investigation. re: Mother and Baby Home Enquiry into Child Deaths, Unmarked Graves and Illegal Burial

Mother and Baby Homes

Terms of Reference of Commission of Investigation

Thank you for taking the time to make a submission regarding the proposed Commission of Investigation. Your submission will be reviewed and given consideration. Please accept his email as an acknowledgement, as we will be unable to issue individual replies due to the pressing time-frame for completion of this stage of the work.

Further information regarding the Commission of Investigation is available on our website at Information regarding the helpline services available to those affected by the recent revelations regarding Mother and Baby Homes and other Institutions, and contact details to assist �those seeking adoption information and tracing information, are also available at this web address.

Yours sincerely

Mother and Baby Home Investigation

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

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Comment by Rob Northall on July 16, 2014 at 18:49
  1. Will be included in Mother & Baby Home / Child Deaths?

  2. - apart frm possible study of movement of girls & women betw & - no mention - covered it?

  3. was a Sample, not sure it covered Deaths and Illegal Burial?

  4. - not sure whether Ryan covered deaths & burials but can't imagine that this new commission will. After it reports maybe?

    Susan Lohan


    Co-founder of Adoption Rights Alliance - advocacy & advice for Ireland's 100,000 adopted people. Labour Party Mbr; on Labour Policy Committee & Central Council.

Comment by Rob Northall on July 16, 2014 at 19:04

Judge Yvonne Murphy appointed as head of Inquiry into Mother & Baby homes!

So Just who is she?


Profile: Yvonne Murphy

By Carol Coulter
Irish Times
July 14, 2011

WHEN THEN minister for justice Michael McDowell set up a Commission of Investigation to examine the abuse of children by priests in the Dublin diocese, he chose Circuit Court judge Yvonne Murphy to chair it.

Following the completion of this widely praised report, she was asked to examine the abuse of children in the Cloyne diocese.

The commission was set up under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, which allowed for the setting up of a type of inquiry which was more cost-effective and efficient than a tribunal, and so it proved to be.

Judge Murphy was assisted by barrister Ita Mangan and solicitor Hugh O’Neill. The commission’s task was to investigate the handling of allegations of clerical child sex abuse in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese by church and State authorities covering the period January 1st, 1975 to April 30th, 2004 (when Cardinal Desmond Connell stepped down as Archbishop of Dublin). It was expected to cost ˆ5.7 million and to investigate a representative sample of cases. It examined the contacts between the church, State and local authorities once allegations had been made, or before they were made.

The commission’s work was done in private, with confidentiality expected from and assured for participants. This hugely reduced its costs. Owing to the volume of material dealt with, it sought an extension of time and produced a devastating report on the Dublin diocese in 2009.

One of characteristics of the report was its clarity of expression and the uncompromising nature of its conclusions.

Born in Co Donegal, Judge Murphy was educated in boarding school in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo. She began working in the Civil Service after leaving school in 1967, studying law part-time in UCD. There she met Adrian Hardiman whom she married in 1974. They have three sons.

Although she was called to the Bar in 1971, she did not practise immediately, working in Aer Lingus and later with the National Social Service Board as its head of information. In 1979 she joined RTE, where she worked for three years. She left RTE to work as special adviser to former Labour Party tanaiste Michael O’Leary.

When he lost his seat, she edited the specialist publication Industrial Relations News for two years. She began practising as a barrister in 1984, initially focusing on employment law. She was vice-chair of the Employment Appeals Tribunal and the Employment Equality Agency.

In 1998 she was appointed as a judge of the Circuit Court. From 2003 until her appointment as commission chair she also sat on the Special Criminal Court.

Ita Mangan was called to the Bar in 1987 but never practised, working in welfare rights until her appointment to the commission.

Solicitor Hugh O’Neill qualified in 1980 and worked with solicitor Marcus Lynch prior to his appointment.

Source -

Comment by Rob Northall on July 16, 2014 at 20:08

Copied and reproduce the following with permission from Fiona Power on Facebook 5 hrs

I know for a fact that my cousin was placed in High Park when she was just 1yr old so they must also have had a nursery attached before she went into the industrial school, Rob. the dept of justice denied they had provisions for babies until I showed them proof in the last few weeks.. they are unreal ...

Comment by Rob Northall on July 20, 2014 at 13:18

Mother-and-baby home report ‘a limited interpretation’

The overwhelming reaction to the Department of Justice’s intergovernmental report on mother-and-baby homes was that it was too limited and would undermine the thoroughness of any subsequent inquiry.

Many of the groups also expressed disappointment that Judge Yvonne Murphy was chosen rather than an international expert.

Adoption Rights Alliance described the report as “coming from the point of view of protecting the State rather than getting at the underlying truth of what happened”.

“This is more basic fact finding rather than truth finding mission. Including a limited number of institutions and leaving out a whole raft of other institutions and adoption issues that are all linked to the mother and baby homes shows a failure to grasp the bigger picture here. We believe no effort is being made to establish accountability,” said Claire Mc Gettrick.

Bethany Home Survivors were pleased to see Bethany Home included. But they had also wanted other institutions such as the Westbank Orphanage in Greystones, Co Wicklow and the Church of Ireland Magdalene Home on Leeson Street included.

“This report is giving a limited interpretation of what happened. There are orphanages and homes linked to Bethany that need to be investigated,” said Niall Meehan.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors expressed mixed views about the choice of Judge Yvonne Murphy to head the inquiry.

“While Judge Murphy did a commendable job chairing the Murphy Commission into child sex abuse, the coalition is aware of concerns by symphysiotomy survivors regarding the redress scheme which Judge Murphy was involved in overseeing,” said Paul Redmond.

“The fact that only registered births are used to calculate figures in the nine M&B homes instead of the numbers of expectant mothers also seriously downplays the numbers involved. Additionally, the issue of illegal adoptions has not been mentioned.”

The coalition expressed concern on the lack of debate on the appointment of Judge Murphy.

“This is of particular concern given the criticism of the Irish Government before the UN yesterday. The committee’s chair Sir Nigel Rodley expressed surprise and exasperation at the myriad of rights abuses that the State has failed to properly investigate. He also criticised the State’s consistent failure to make truth finding and accountability central to the redress provided to victims,” said legal advisor Mairead Healy.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Source -

Comment by Rob Northall on July 22, 2014 at 13:45

Warning issued on mother-and-baby homes inquiry

Complaint to UN panel against torture likely if remit limited, says survivor group

Minister for Children James Reilly: announced that the publication of the terms of reference for the commission of investigation into mother-and-baby homes has been postponed until autumn. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Children James Reilly: announced that the publication of the terms of reference for the commission of investigation into mother-and-baby homes has been postponed until autumn. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A group representing people housed in mother-and-baby homes has warned that it will bring a complaint to the UN Committee Against Torture if the terms of a forthcoming inquiry are not inclusive.

Paul Redmond of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors said the terms of reference of the Government’s commission of investigation into mother-and-baby homes must be comprehensive.

“My hope for the terms of reference is that they will be as full and inclusive as possible and that the entire issue of how society treated unmarried mothers before and after the birth of their children should be looked at,” he said.

He said this should include all women and children housed in State-supported mother-and-baby homes, those run by religious orders, county homes, Protestant-run homes, private homes including the Regina Coeli hostels, institutions such as Stamullen, Co Meath and St Patrick’s Infant Hospital in Temple Hill, Blackrock and other associated institutions as well as adoption practices.

Wide-ranging inquiry

“If the terms of reference fail to meet our expectations we will bring the issue to the UN Committee against Torture to try and force the Government to widen the terms of reference to include everything and everybody,” he said.

Meanwhile, Claire McGettrick of the Adoption Rights Alliance said past adoption practices were “inextricably linked” to the mother-and-baby homes and needed to be fully investigated as part of the inquiry.

“This needs to be done as quickly as possible because there are people who are of a certain age who aren’t going to be around much longer who can shed light on this so we need to act quickly to get to the bottom of this,” she said.

‘Forced adoption’

Ms McGettrick said illegal and forced adoptions needed to be investigated as part of this process: “In 1967, almost 97 per cent of non-marital births ended in adoption. That’s in itself is evidence of a policy of forced adoption . . . there was zero choice,” she said. “If this isn’t done right this time it will come round again. This has to be dealt with. It is not something that is going to go away.”

Ms McGettrick added that proposed adoption tracing legislation “will not solve the problems of the past”. “There has been no acknowledgement of the impact of loss of identity on adopted people and the effects of disenfranchised grief on both adopted people and their natural mothers which are themselves an abuse”.

Last week Minister for Children James Reilly announced that the publication of the terms of reference for the commission of investigation into mother-and-baby homes has been postponed until autumn.

Source -

Comment by Rob Northall on July 30, 2014 at 21:23

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: 29 July 2014 09:57
Subject: The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes

29th July 2014

Mr Rob Northall

Dear Mr. Northall

On  behalf of Dr. James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I  wish  to  acknowledge and thank you for your recent email concerning the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

The  Report  of  the  Inter Departmental Group on Mother and Baby Homes was published  on  Wednesday  16th  July  and  resulted  from  the  work of the Inter-Departmental  Group  established  to assist the Government in scoping the necessary examination of this important issue.

The Report is an important input into the Government’s deliberations on the scope of the Commission of Investigation.  The Department has also received submissions  on  the  terms  of  reference for the Commission from over 120 groups  and  individuals.  A number of meetings have been held with groups.
Collectively  these  inputs and consultations will assist the Government in finalising  proposals  for the Commission’s establishment.  Minister Reilly and  his  predecessor  have  engaged with party spokespersons and intend to continue this process in order to achieve as much consensus as possible.

On  the return of the Dáil after the Summer recess, Minister Reilly intends tabling  a  draft order to establish the Commission under the Commission of Investigation  Act, 2004 together with a statement providing an estimate of the  costs to be incurred by the Commission in conducting the investigation and  a  time  frame  for  its  work.  This is a complex task and it is very important  it  is completed to the highest standard.  As highlighted in the Report  of the Inter-Departmental Group, past experience indicates that the establishment  of  a  Commission  of  Investigation  must  be  handled very carefully  and precisely in order to ensure the Commission is set up on the most sound footing possible.

Your correspondence has been forwarded to the relevant officials within the Department  to assist with the finalising of proposals for the Commission’s establishment.

I hope that this information is helpful to you.

Yours sincerely

Evan Hackett
Private Secretary to Minister  James Reilly, TD

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