About 56,000 people – from girls as young as 12 to women in their 40s – were sent to the 18 institutions surveyed, where about 57,000 children were born, according to the report.
One in seven of these children (15%) did not survive long enough to leave their homes, yet there was no alarm from the state about the high mortality rates, even though it was “known by local and national authorities” and was registered in official publications , “the report found.
Before 1960, mother and baby homes did not save the lives of ‘illegal’ children; in fact, they appear to have significantly reduced their chances of survival, “it said.
The report called child mortality the most “disturbing feature of these institutions.”
Speaking Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the report “opens a window to a deeply misogynistic culture in Ireland for decades” and that the report “reveals significant failures in the state and society.”
The report, which runs to more than 2,800 pages, was released just days after its main findings were leaked to a national newspaper – exacerbating the pain and anguish of survivors who have been waiting years for the final report – and who had been promised a first opinion of the Minister of Children.
Susan Lohan, co-founder of the Adoption Rights Alliance and a member of a dedicated survivor group appointed to advise the government, told CNN on Tuesday that the leaked excerpts from the report seen on Sunday show the Irish government may be seeking to “trivialize” the human rights abuses that took place on a “massive scale” inside these homes.
During her time in Sean Ross Abbey’s mother and baby home, Lee said she was “deprived” of her freedom, independence and autonomy and was “subject to the tyranny of nuns” who daily told mothers to atone for their sins by ” work for our team and hand over our children to the nuns for forced adoption. “
Lee, whose story was told in an Oscar-nominated film starring Judi Dench, added that she was “mocked” by the nuns during a difficult job, which she said told her “the pain was a punishment for my promiscuity.”
The Commission’s final report reported that this practice was not unusual.
For many survivors and advocacy groups, there is concern that the report does not confirm their experience.
Lohan told the national television station RTE that the institutions were a “form of social engineering” and that “the state and the church worked together to ensure that women – unmarried mothers and girls who were considered a threat to the moral tone ashore “was” imprisoned behind these very high walls to ensure that they would not influence or violate public morality. “
On Tuesday, Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Gender Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Affairs, said: individuals their agency and sometimes their future. “
Survivors are expected to receive an official state apology from Martin, the Irish prime minister, on Wednesday.
But for many, this excuse will not be enough.
Lohan told CNN that she disagrees with the planned apology from the state and said no apology should be given until the survivors have had a chance to read and digest the commission’s findings, which could take many weeks.
She also suggested that an apology should be the first of a series of several, noting that the commission’s investigation covered only 18 institutions, while approx. 180 places were part of an Irish system that facilitated neglect of children, premature death, forced adoption, forced disappearance. forced labor, deprivation of identities, falsification of state documents and falsification of mothers’ consent.
The report does not seem like fully deal with the allegations of forced or illegal adoption, only stating that “many allegations have been made that large sums were given to the institutions and agencies in Ireland that organized foreign adoptions. Such allegations are impossible to prove and impossible to disprove. “
Tens of thousands went through other state-run hospitals and private institutions and “suffered the same fate,” she said.
After having a brief glimpse of the report’s summary on Wednesday, Lohan said the survivors were left feeling overwhelmed by the apparent lack of attention to key issues, and that some survivors now felt their evidence was unbelievable as the Commission had rejected certain allegations, citing lack of evidence.
The question of why the homes were set up in the first place seems to have been glossed over, some advocacy groups have said, and undercut the trauma that mothers and their children have had.
While the report documented testimonies from women detailing torture and beatings, it said that “there is no doubt that women in mother and baby homes were subjected to emotional abuse, but there is very little evidence of physical abuse and no evidence of sexual abuse. “
The report also does not appear to address the testimony of some survivors who have said that older members of the Catholic Church forced them to enter the homes in addition to their family members.
In a speech to journalists on Wednesday, Martin said that “in principle, I think the religious orders concerned should make a contribution” to a proposed compensation scheme.
Some 973 children died at or near the Tuam mother and orphanage, according to the Commission, which revealed that some of their remains had been found inside a disused sewage tank.
Only 50 records of burials in Tuam have been found; others “may have been lost or destroyed over the years” according to a preliminary report from March 2019.
A total of 900 babies born in or hospitalized near County Cork’s Bessborough home died in infancy or early childhood.
The commission also found that between 1920 and 1977, the bodies of more than 950 children who had died in some of the homes were sent to university medical schools for “anatomical studies.”
Survivors have long hoped that the Commission would reveal more about allegations of arbitrary detention, cruelty and neglect, forced adoption and vaccinations that took place inside the home, as well as holding offenders accountable.
And crucially, they also hoped it would help them access their personal records, including information about missing relatives and babies buried in unmarked graves.
Critics of the law had successfully argued that sealing Commission records was illegal under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU directive that gives individuals the right to access their data.
Survivors’ rights groups are now warning that the government – and government agencies, including the children’s and families’ agency Tusla – are still restricting survivors’ access to their own records.
In a statement to CNN, Tusla put the issue of access back to the government, saying that “the absence of information handling legislation will continue to be a source of great concern to people and the solution to this issue is beyond Tusla’s reach.”
“We acknowledge the wounds and trauma experienced by those affected by the Commission’s report on mother and baby homes, who understandably are searching for their identity,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the agency still routinely denies survivors – especially adopted people – access to their own personal information, their birth certificates, their identity and even their ethnicities, Lohan says.
“These abuses, they did not end in 1998, when the last of the terrible places closed.”