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Mother and Baby Homes Bill described as 'gagging order' by survivor

A Mother and Baby Homes survivor has described plans to seal an archive of the institutions as a ...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

15.19 27 Oct 2020


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Mother and Baby Homes Bill des...

Mother and Baby Homes Bill described as 'gagging order' by survivor

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

15.19 27 Oct 2020


Share this article


A Mother and Baby Homes survivor has described plans to seal an archive of the institutions as a "gagging order".

A Commission of Investigation into the 76-year history of the facilities is currently drawing to a close.

As part of the Commission's work, a database will be passed on to Tusla to help survivors trace their families.

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However, the confidential testimonies will be sealed for 30 years, and 180,000 people have signed a petition calling for that to be scrapped.

More 100 people attended a demonstration at Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday after President Michael D Higgins signed the controversial bill on the Mother and Baby Homes into law over the weekend.

Clodagh Malone, who was born in a Mother and Baby Home, said it will be a disgrace if the records are kept under wraps.

She told Lunchtime Live that her birth mother fled to England two months before she was born.

But four days before her birth, Ms Malone's mother presented herself and was brought back to St Patrick's Mother and Baby Home.

She was born there and then at ten weeks old was sent to her adopted family.

Her adopted mother died when she was 23 so then at 25-years-old she went in search of her birth mother.

Ms Malone said it was "very unusual" but she met her birth mother within a few weeks.

She added that meeting her "felt like looking in the mirror" and was an incredible moment.

She said: "Even before Christmas, and I was born on June 25th, she wanted to send me a Christmas present and they said that she could.

"She wrote cards every year and I was never told any of this.

"I went through all the milestones of my life thinking I was abandoned, and I wasn't.

"She was always fighting, even five days after my birth the social worker sent her a congratulations card with an adoption form in it.

"So certainly with the coercion that has gone on, and for us as a community, we're like mice at a roundabout at the moment."

Ms Malone said the survivors of Mother and Baby Homes want to know their history and medical backgrounds.

She said of the new Bill: "We feel it's a gagging order.

"I went into the testimony and I had to give very, very private information about me and my mother and all the trauma we have gone through.

"I'm not ashamed of my story. We believe it's too late for coverups, stop pouring shame on survivors."

Ms Malone added that the Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman had "a duty of care" to ensure he was delivering information about the Bill.

Minister O'Gorman has apologised and said he "deeply" regrets his failure to communicate and engage with survivors of Mother and Baby Homes.

Mother and Baby Homes Bill described as 'gagging order' by survivor

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Main image: A general view of the site of a mass grave for children who died in the Tuam mother and baby home, Galway. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

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Commission Of Investigation Into Mother And Baby Homes Mother And Baby Homes Mother And Baby Homes Bill

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