Mother and Baby Homes Redress
The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes published its long-anticipated report in January 2021. It investigated decades of harm caused to tens of thousands women and children at 14 mother and baby homes and four county homes across Ireland between 1922 and 1998.
The Commission’s Terms of Reference covered the period 1922 – 1998, a span of 76 years. There were about 56,000 unmarried mothers and about 57,000 children in the mother and baby homes and county homes investigated by the Commission. The greatest number of admissions was in the 1960s and early 1970s. It is likely that there were a further 25,000 unmarried mothers and a larger number of children in the county homes which were not investigated; admissions to county homes were largely pre-1960. The women who were admitted to mother and baby homes ranged in age from 12 years old to women in their forties. However, 80% were aged between 18 and 29 years.
The report concluded that 9,000 children died in mother and baby homes, around 15 per cent of all those who entered the institutions, the report found. In the years 1945-46, the death rate among infants in mother and baby homes was almost twice that of the national average for “illegitimate” children. The commission said the high rate of infant mortality was a “disquieting” feature.
The report noted that Adopted people should have a right to their birth certificates and associated birth information. A person’s right to his or her identity is an important human right and should only be denied in very exceptional circumstances.