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Irish government apologizes for the “mother and baby home” scandal: dark, difficult and shameful

Irish government apologizes for the "mother and baby home" scandal: dark, difficult and shameful

A survey released on the 12th local time found that Ireland’s mother and baby homes are “stoundingly high in infant mortality” and women who are sent there to conceive outside marriage and their children are humiliated.

Irish Prime Minister Michelle Martin described it as a “dark, difficult and shameful chapter” in Irish history and officially apologized on behalf of the government to those affected by the scandal on the 13th.

According to a BBC report on the 12th, the mother and baby home was established in the 19th and 20th centuries, mostly operated by the Catholic Church, hosting women who are pregnant out of wedlock.

The survey, which lasted for more than five years, found that between 1922 and 1998, about 9,000 children died in the 18 mother and baby homes surveyed, with a mortality rate of 15%.

Among them, in 1944, the child mortality rate in a mother and baby home in Cork County was as high as 82%, of which 62% of the children died before the age of one.

In 2018, in order to search for the bodies of 800 children, the Irish government authorized the exhumation of the former site of the mother and baby home.

Reuters quoted the survey report on the 12th that about 56,000 pregnant women and girls were sent to give birth in the mother and baby home surveyed.

The youngest “mother” in the hospital was only 12 years old, and the mortality rate of infants born here is often more than five times that of infants born in wedlock. Not only are these women seen as a stain on Ireland’s national image, but their children are also abused.

The investigation found that babies born in mother and baby homes became “white mice” in diphtheria, polio and measles vaccine trials without consent.

Some babies were forced to separate from their mothers and adopted abroad. A mother who gave birth to a mother-and-child home in the late 1960s recalled that when she planned to take her child to England to live with her sister, the nun replied: “Impossible.

You can’t go anywhere with your children. You are going home, and the child is going somewhere else.

A female victim who entered the mother and baby home at the age of 17 described it as “a mixture of hospitals, schools and prisons, full of sadness, despair and disturbing things, where women scream, women are insane, and a room with small white coffins”.

It is also said that she has witnessed a raped pregnant girl dying in the mother and baby home, and even so, her parents refused to take her home.

Some victims described to investigators that they were abused by nuns, worked on their knees, and were verbally abused as “degenerate women”, and one unmarried pregnant victim said in pain, “In the mother and baby home, you are reminded every day to be a sinner.” The children they gave birth to are called “the seed of demons”.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the leader of the Irish Catholic Church, said on the 12th that the church must recognize its role in the “rigor and indifferent atmosphere” described in the report and apologize to the victims for the long-term harm and mental suffering caused.

Ireland’s Minister for Children O’Gorman said, “The report clearly shows that Ireland has had a suffocating, oppressive and cruel misogyny culture for decades, and the widespread stigmatization of unmarried mothers and children has deprived them of custody and even taken away the future.” The Irish government said it would provide financial compensation and counseling services and provide residents, including many adoptees, with personal information previously unavailable.

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