Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.45 11 Jan 2021


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A survivor of a mother and baby home says it's now time to put the "misogyny that went on within modern history to bed" and let survivors get on with their lives.

The final report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission is set to be published this week, but some details of the report were published in the Sunday Independent yesterday.

It revealed that the report is set to state that around 9,000 children died in the facilities - representing around one in seven of the babies born in them.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said it's 'regrettable' details were published early, and has promised to address how the leak happened.

He has also pledged a 'comprehensive' response to the report's recommendation, and is due to make a State apology in the Dáil on Wednesday.

Survivors, however, have expressed their disappointment and frustration at not being the first ones to see the findings.

Clodagh Malone, a mother and baby home survivor, told Lunchtime Live she's 'disappointed' rather than angry at what has transpired in recent days.

Mother and baby home survivor: 'It's time to put the misogyny that went on to bed'

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She said: “I wasn’t surprised, but for the elders of the community it was absolutely shocking to see the headline.

“It was very disrespectful of whoever leaked it, towards us survivors. I think we’ve been through enough."

She said a payment scheme needs to be set up swiftly once the full report is published, especially for older survivors.

She said: “An apology and redress is so important… We’ve asked for them to do it in stages, and perhaps an interim payment to the elders of the community.

"Mothers and I believe children should be paid, but particularly the mothers.

“With the elders, an apology and redress certainly is the main focus - then maybe to look housing and psychological well-being [supports].

“It’s just time to put this misogyny that went on within modern history to bed now, and let us get on with our lives."

'Mistrust and betrayal'

Colleen is another mother and baby home survivor, and she told Lunchtime the leak was a 'another form of betrayal' to survivors.

She said: "I don't know whoever did it if they got brownie points for putting out a story that wasn't supposed to be out... but I think it was mistrust.

"I think there's a lot of mistrust and betrayal again, and it was very unfair."

Colleen said she always dreamed of coming back to Ireland - which she did a number of years ago - but she has family who "don't want anything to do with" her since she has told her story publicly.

Her mother died 11 years ago, and therefore won't hear the State apology.

Colleen said: "She said the worst thing for her was the nuns and how they had treated her.

"I would have liked for her to be alive and hear some acknowledgement."

Colleen said her mother was "very traumatised" by her experiences, and her own husband didn't know about her "secret" until only a year or so before they finally met Colleen.

She said: "I met her in 1999... I went back home, and we never spoke again.

"For the most part I've been doing pretty good... I did end up in emergency housing.

"Still, I have no regrets that I came home... I've had a lot of great people who've been very supportive... I'm not alone."

Main image: A general view of tributes left at the site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

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