Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes
I welcome the publication of the report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland. It is a very substantial piece of work. It will take some time to read it and to take on board the implications of what it contains.
The women who lived in the Homes, came from communities all over Ireland. While there were no Mother and Baby Homes in the Diocese of Elphin, I have no doubt that women from the Diocese were resident in Mother and Baby Homes elsewhere. For that reason, I want to join with my fellow Bishops and other Religious leaders in asking forgiveness on behalf of the Church for the way in which so many women in need and their children were hidden away and treated as if they did not count.
There has always been a tendency to stigmatise children whose parents, for one reason or another, were perceived to fall short of the expectations of society. While the report points to a serious failure on the part of the civil authorities to adequately equip, maintain and oversee the running of the Homes, it is a source of deep sadness and shame that Church people contributed to creating and maintaining such a culture. No child should ever be treated less favourably because of the social, employment or marital status of his or her parents.
No report can change the past, but a good report, taken seriously, can and will change the future. The publication of this report brings with it a public recognition of the pain and isolation that so many women and children experienced. I hope that, as well as providing some answers to the families of babies who died in the Homes, it will also be the beginning of a path to truth, peace and healing.
Arrangements have been made by the Government for former residents of Mother and Baby Homes who wish to do so, to access a range of services provided through the National Counselling Service. Click here for details of those services
Bishop Kevin Doran
13th January 2021