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Helping Ireland’s unmarried mothers tell their stories

Rod Baker hopes that a new pro bono initiative supporting those affected by the Irish Mother and Baby Homes will allow for a comprehensive investigation of a painful chapter in the country's history

4 July 2016

For many people, it was the hit film Philomena that brought the Irish Mother and Baby Homes to their attention. However, it was the discovery of the bodies of hundreds of babies in a septic tank at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway, which last year prompted the Irish government to establish a Commission of Investigation into the operation of the Mother and Baby Homes.

The Mother and Baby Homes operated throughout the 20th century and were places to which unmarried mothers were sent to have their children. They were generally run by religious orders and often involved the expectant mothers being kept in extremely harsh conditions and being made to work for their upkeep.

In multiple instances, having given birth, mothers had to remain in the home to work and pay for their release. Many of the babies born in the homes were sent for adoption, in numerous cases without the full and informed consent of the mother, and several hundred were adopted ...

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