Taoiseach Micheál Martin is expected to deliver a State apology in the Dáil tomorrow following the publication of the final report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.
The extensive report describes investigations into 18 institutions for unmarried mothers and their children in Ireland over 76 years. The Castle in Newtowncunningham and Stranorlar county home are among properties that are included (See a report on accounts from the Donegal institutions here).
An exceptionally high rate of infant mortality was recorded in the homes the commission investigated. Almost 9,000 children died over this dark period – accounting for 15% of all children registered. Before 1960, the report states the homes appeared to have “significantly reduced their prospects of survival” of children born within their walls.
Commenting today, An Taoiseach said the report describes a “dark, difficult and shameful chapter” of very recent Irish history.
“It holds up a mirror to aspects of our past which are painful and difficult and from the present day perspective are often hard to comprehend.
“As a nation we must face up to the full truth of our past,” he said.
The Mother and Baby Homes Commission was set up following revelations in 2014 by local historian Catherine Corless about the deaths of almost 800 children at the Tuam mother-and-baby home in Co Galway. The commission has today made 53 recommendations, including compensation and memorialisation.
Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman said: “The report makes clear that for decades, Ireland had a stifling, oppressive and brutally misogynistic culture, where a pervasive stigmatisation of unmarried mothers and their children robbed those individuals of their agency and sometimes their future.
“Publication of the Commission’s report is an expression of truth. For decades, Irish society was defined by its silence, and, in that, its complicity in what was done to some of our most vulnerable citizens. With its publication, we are affirming that their stories and their truth, will be heard, acknowledged and understood.”