Mother & Baby Homes Redress in Ireland

Multi-Party Action

Mother and Baby Homes Redress

Coleman Legal is currently engaging with members of the community in order to assist with pre-application enquiries in advance of the 2022 redress scheme'

How we can help?

Norman Spicer is the lead solicitor assisting members of the survivor community with all matters surrounding the mother and baby homes, redress and adoption

Email

info@colemanlegal.ie

Location

84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1

Mother and Baby Homes Redress Scheme

The Government has now announced the terms and broad details about the redress scheme which is due to open in 2022.

Below we have provided details as they apply to the community. The Payment Scheme is described in detail, and many frequently asked questions concerning the scheme are answered below.

Mother & Baby Homes Payment Scheme Details

Redress Scheme for Mothers

It has been announced that any mother who spent time in a mother and baby institution in Ireland for any duration of time will be eligible for redress/compensation. This is a welcome change to what the Commission had been recommending (which was that redress would only arise for those having spent more than 6 months and would only extend to those who went in prior to 1974.

Redress will arise if the person resided in one of the 14 mother and baby homes or any of the States County homes. Unfortunately at this time redress is not being extended beyond that to other institutions.

List of institutions eligible for the scheme.

The compensation levels go up depending on residency. See attached for detailed figures. The compensation starts at €5,000 and goes up after 3 months to €10,000. There are additional payments if the person engaged in what is termed as ‘commercial work’.

This has not been clearly set out by the government as yet but it is likely to include persons who worked outside of the home or those who engaged in work inside the home of a commercial nature, i.e this might include making items that are to be sold by the religious order to third parties.

The redress will apply also to young mothers who were under 18 during their stay. There is provision also for a medical card and the application for redress can be made at the same time.

If you would like to, please fill out our contact form below and someone from the team will be in touch with you:

Redress Scheme for Children’s/ Adoptee’s

The Mother and Baby Homes Redress scheme has dealt a serious blow to adoptee’s and children residents of these institutions. For the time being at least, there is a residency requirement (minimum 6 months) before the person will be eligible for redress. The rates will be the same as for the mothers once the residency requirement is satisfied.

Unfortunately, redress at this time is not being extended beyond that to other institutions not included in the list. See the link for a list of the institutions. List of institutions eligible for the scheme.

Even if you are not likely to be included in the scheme because of residency requirements or because your institution isn’t on the list, Coleman Legal would still like to hear from you.

We may be able to assist by will reviewing your particular circumstances and providing some input on what options may be available to you.

Similar to the redress for mothers there is provision also for a medical card and the application for redress can be made at the same time.

One positive to be taken from the proposals for adoptees is is that anyone who was in St Patrick’s (Navan Road/Pelletstown) will be eligible be able to apply to the scheme provided they didn’t get redress in the Residential Redress Scheme of 2002.

If you would like to, please fill out our contact form below and someone from the team will be in touch with you

List of mother and baby homes in Ireland eligible for the Redress Scheme:

Mother and Baby Homes investigated by the Commission

  • St Patrick’s / Pelletstown, Navan Road, Dublin 7
  • The Tuam Children’s Home, Tuam, Co. Galway
  • Bessborough Mother and Baby Home, Cork
  • Manor House, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath
  • Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.
  • Árd Mhuire, Dunboyne, Co. Meath
  • Bethany Home, Dublin
  • Denny House, Dublin
  • Miss Carr’s Flatlets, Dublin
  • The Regina Coeli Hostel, Dublin
  • The Castle, Newtowncunningham, Co. Donegal
  • The County Clare Nursery, Kilrush, Co. Clare
  • Belmont Flatlets, Dublin
  • St. Gerard’s, Dublin

County Homes

  • Carlow
  • Cavan
  • Clare (Ennis)
  • Cork (City)
  • Cork (Midleton)
  • Cork (Clonakilty)
  • Cork (Fermoy)
  • Donegal (Stranorlar)
  • Dublin
  • Galway (Loughrea)
  • Kerry (Killarney)
  • Kildare (Athy)
  • Kilkenny (Thomastown)
  • Laois (Mountmellick)
  • Leitrim (Carrick-on-Shannon)
  • Limerick (Newcastlewest)
  • Limerick (City Home and Hospital)
  • Longford
  • Mayo (Castlebar)
  • Meath (Trim)
  • Monaghan (Castleblayney)
  • Offaly (Tullamore)
  • Roscommon
  • Sligo
  • Tipperary North (Thurles)
  • Tipperary South (Cashel)
  • Waterford (Dungarvan)
  • Westmeath (Mullingar)
  • Wexford (Enniscorthy)

Other names

  • Sacred Heart Home and Hospital, Carlow
  • St. Felim’s County Home and Hospital, Cavan
  • ClSt. Joseph’s Hospital, Ennis
  • Cork County Home and District St. Finbarr’s
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Home, Middleton
  • Mount Carmel Home, Clonakilty
  • St. Patrick’s Hospital, Fermoy
  • St. Joseph’s Home, Stranorlar
  • St. Kevin’s Institution (Initially the Dublin Union)
  • St. Brendan’s Home, Loughrea
  • St. Columbanus Home, Killarney
  • St. Vincent’s Hospital, Athy
  • St. Columba’s County Home, Thomastown
  • St. Vincent’s Hospital, Mountmellick
  • St. Patrick’s Home, Carrick-on-Shannon
  • St. Ita’s Home, Newcastlewest
  • St. Camillus Hospital, Limerick
  • St. Joseph’s Hospital, Longford
  • Sacred Heart Home, Castlebar
  • St. Joseph’s Home, Trim
  • St. Mary’s Hospital, Castleblayney
  • St. Vincent’s Hospital, Tullamore
  • St. John’s Hospital, Sligo
  • St. John’s Hospital, Sligo
  • Hospital of the Assumption, Thurles
  • St. Patrick’s Hospital, Cashel
  • St. John’s Hospital, Dungarvan
  • St. Mary’s Hospital, Mullingar
  • St. John’s Hospital, Enniscorthy

How Coleman Legal can help?

  • Coleman Legal is currently gathering information from survivors that will assist in processing your applications for Mother and Baby Homes Redress Scheme.
  • Coleman Legal is accepting your queries by phone, email, website, and all our social media platforms.
  • Coleman Legal will support you in accessing your historical records. (This is likely to be a key requirement)
  • Coleman Legal will consult and assist in the preparation of all necessary documentation to expedite the application process.

Mother and Baby Homes Redress Scheme – (FAQs)

Am I eligible?

If you are a mother who spent time in one of the 14 mother and baby homes or any of the County homes, you will be eligible for redress. The redress will increase if the period of residency exceeded three months. An additional payment will also be made if you did  ‘commercial work’ during your time in there. You may also qualify for a medical card.

If you are a person who spent a minimum of 6-months as a child in one of these institutions then you will be entitled to redress. You may also qualify for a medical card.

When is the scheme opening?

The scheme is due to open for applications in 2022. At this stage, it is not possible to give a definite timeline. We await further announcements from Government.

How do I apply?

The exact application requirements are not yet known.  At this stage, we are asking anyone who requires assistance to fill out our info sheet at this link and we will contact you to discuss.

Please select the date of your enquiry

Commission and Report 

In January 2021, the Commission of Inquiry into Mother & Baby Homes released its final report.  A number of the findings and conclusions of the report have been marred by controversy and public outcry.

The long-awaited report took six years to be published.  Following several controversial extensions, the Commission immediately set about seeking to close the book on this tragic and often cruel chapter of Ireland’s history.

However, it appears that the members of the commission and indeed the government failed to appreciate immediately just how significant some of the omissions in the report are or were to become soon after.

The omissions discussed in this piece go to the root of the findings of the report and place a serious question mark over its credibility and indeed over a significant number of its conclusions.

The Commission failed to appropriately manage communication to and with the survivors, particularly when it came to the testimony given to them over the years.  That coupled with their refusal to appear before the Oireachtas, have rightly cast a significant shadow over not only the individuals who made up the Commission, but also the Government itself.

In this piece Norman Spicer, a solicitor representing a number of survivors discusses the problems with the report and provides an update on where things stand at present.

Introduction

To appreciate how, and more importantly why there is such controversy over the findings in the report, we must go back to the formation of the Commission and its terms of reference.

The terms of reference are the roadmap within which the Commission was to navigate its work.  This gave authority to the Commission to carry out its function, namely to investigate and to report its findings to the Government on the institutions and wider society at the time.

One of the many powers and objectives the Commission had was to set up a confidential committee. This was to operate in tandem with the Commission and operated as a mechanism whereby survivors could give their evidence while remaining unidentified in the report

However, it later emerged that the commission gave little (if any) weight to the hundreds of accounts given to it by former residents of the institutions. This will be discussed in detail below.

The Commission & Tuam

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We have more than 30 years of collective experience pursuing claims for those affected by the legacy of Ireland’s shameful past

One of the reasons the Commission was set up was due to the considerable efforts of local historian Catherine Corless. Ms. Corless first raised the alarm regarding deaths and burials on the grounds of the former mother and baby home that was operated by the Bon Secours order in Tuam Co. Galway.

The Commission was made up of 3 members. These included Judge Yvonne Murphy (Chair), Professor Mary Daly (Retired Professor of History), and Dr. William Duncan (retired Professor of Law). It took almost 6 years to deliver its report at a cost of around €13.5 million.

The report was delivered on the 12th of January 2021[1] after several delays.

57,000

Children lived in the institution

9000

children have died in the institutions

56,000

Unmarried mothers lived in the institution

80%

Women’s were aged between 18 to 29 years

Timeline Mother and Baby Homes Redress in Ireland

Below is a timeline with links to the various reports and articles discussed in the piece.

^
17th February 2015

The Commission of Investigation is established and is chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy. The Commission is set up to examine records from 14 mother and baby homes and 4 County homes. The Commission has a final report deadline of February 2018.

^
12th June 2016

The first interim report is published.

^
30 January 2017

The first test excavation takes place at Tuam.

^
11 April 2017

The second interim report is published.

^
5th December 2017

The Government approves a 1-year extension for the Commission to deliver its final report. The new deadline is now February 2019.  

Read More

^
10th July 2018

Coleman Legal initiate proceedings on behalf of a former child resident of St Patrick’s Navan Road.

^
12 January 2021

The final report of the Commission is released. It reveals some disturbing statistics that approximately 15% of all infants who spent time in the homes died. The immediate concern is raised about the limitations in the Commission’s recommendations. Namely, the recommendation by the Commission that mothers who entered the homes after 1974 when the unmarried mother’s allowance came on stream, should be excluded and that the duration of the stay which would give rise to redress should be 6 months.

It is believed by Norman that these two restrictions would bar entry to the scheme by many survivors of the mother and baby institutions and that it would be extremely unfair to do so.

Norman Spicer of Coleman Legal is quoted in the below piece raising these concerns.

Read More

^
13 January 2021

The Taoiseach Michael Martin issues a public apology in the Dáil.

^
11 June 2021

The Commission writes to the government advising of their intention not to appear before the Oireachtas.

Read More

^
14 July 2021

Alternative report findings are Published by academics and legal experts.

Read More

^
1 July 2021

Coleman Legal call on the State to ensure the congregations contribute to the redress scheme.

Read More

^
21 September 2021

The restrictions in the Commission’s recommendations to Government appear to widened to include those who went in after 1974 and those who spent less than 6 months resident.

Read More

In the 1960s, Éamon de Valera’s son facilitated illegal adoptions.

The son of the former president, Prof Éamon de Valera, a consultant gynaecologist, assisted illegal adoptions in Ireland.

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Thousands of children in Ireland have been unlawfully adopted, and decades later, they are still fighting bureaucracy to discover their actual origins.

The Report is Published & Immediate Controversy

On the 12th day of January 2021, the long-awaited report of the Commission was published. The report, which ran to over 4000, pages made a number of shocking findings of the infant mortality rate and vaccine trials.  Sadly, many knew of these already.

Equally shocking was their finding that there was ‘little evidence of forced adoptions’ in the so-called homes. To many, this ‘finding’ did nothing but insult the community, particularly the mothers, many of whom gave what they understood was evidence to the Commission about that very thing and which was entirely at odds with the report.

 

  • Furthermore, the report was criticised for the use of language and how, in essence, society as a whole and their respective communities were blamed for failing young mothers/women by not supporting them through their pregnancies and beyond.
  • This oversimplified conclusion entirely overlooked the failings of the State in not bringing inappropriate measures to support these young women.  It failed to highlight that the State had become completely entwined with the religious orders, to the detriment of the Irish people.
  • Understandably, this was seen by many as an attempt by the Commission to absolve the Religious Orders who received payment from the State to operate these institutions.  It also appeared to absolve the State of any blame for facilitating the confinement of young women and girls when they were at their most vulnerable.
  • Within days of its publication concerns began to be raised about how the conclusions regarding forced adoptions could have been reached. Given the fact that some 550 accounts, many of which addressed forced adoptions, had been given to the Commission.
  • The accounts of these survivors did not appear to have been given any weight. The report in many ways, while painting these institutions as unsavory, otherwise tended to characterise them as being a sign of the times.  This was insulting to many.
  • Another significant concern was the fact that evidence given to the Commission appeared to be shoehorned into a set of questions that in fact were never asked.
  • How the commission could have ever thought this was appropriate is not understood.  They have failed/refused to appear to answer questions about this time and again.
  • The Commission did not consult with survivors prior to publishing the report which would have guaranteed certain rights under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004.  Litigation is before the Courts on that in November.
  • It was not until one of the Commission members delivered a talk in early June 2021 at Oxford University that the failings of the report became apparent. Astonishingly, Professor Daly essentially revealed that some 550 accounts given to the confidential committee were not incorporated into the report because of what Daly described as having not met ‘robust legal standards of evidence’.
  • This left the commission with only 19 accounts having been given to it which would have met the Commissions self-imposed strict criteria surrounding the standard of evidence.
  • This begs the question, did the Commission explain to people who appeared before the confidential committee that their evidence would not be used in the report? According to many, this was not explained. Most thought that it would only mean their names would not be included.
  • Surely the commission should have raised concerns with the government at the time if they felt that the terms of reference were restricting their ability to make findings and determinations. It seems from reading Professor Daly’s comments that fear of litigation from the religious orders hampered their work and they decided at some point to place a self-imposed high threshold on the legal standards of proof.
  • They decided not to reflect in the report any evidence given to it by survivors where they were not subjected to cross-examination. This decision was significant and one that the author cannot agree with.
  • A lower burden of proof should have been set per the terms of reference, whereby even confidential evidence given to it could have been given its rightful place in the report.
  • The Commission tied their own hands much to the anguish of the 550 people who appeared before it and were not properly listened to.
  • What happens next is unclear.  What is clear is that the report cannot be simply left to stand as it is. The author believes permission should be sought to allow a new panel to review the 550 accounts and the report is amended to reflect these accounts.

Mother and Baby Homes Redress in Ireland – News

In the days following the publication of the report, the author raised significant concerns over what he saw as an attempt by the Commission to exclude large numbers of mothers from being eligible to the scheme.

The restrictions of concern were:

  1. The requirement of a minimum 6-month stay at the ‘home’;
  2. The outright attempt to exclude anyone who went in after 1974 when the unmarried mother’s allowance came into effect.

These two restrictions would have deemed the majority of survivors ineligible for the scheme.  Other groups also raised these concerns.

From recent reports, it appears that the government will not restrict applicants based on these two criteria. This was discussed in a recent piece by the Irish Times.

Coleman Legal also called on the State in July to ensure that the religious congregations be compelled to contribute to the redress scheme. This was discussed in a July article in the Irish Independent which also detailed the State’s continuing decision not to engage with the congregations regarding the proposed scheme.

The Report is Published & Immediate Controversy

In July of 2018, Coleman Legal issued proceedings against the State and the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul on behalf of an adoptee who spent several years in St Patrick’s on the Navan road.

  • The Plaintiff in this action was unaware that the earlier 2002 Residential Redress Acts had added St Patrick’s to the list of institutions in 2004 thereby making him eligible to apply.
  • This action is before the Courts at an advanced stage in the proceedings.
  • This is an issue that Coleman Legal continue to come across. Coleman Legal have been contacted by a significant number of individuals since January who spent time in St Patrick’s but were never aware that they were entitled to apply to the redress scheme which closed in 2011.
  • It should be noted that this exclusion should not apply to mothers who resided in this institution.
  • Interested parties were invited to provide a written submission to the Governments chosen consulting company (Oak Consulting) earlier this year.
  • Coleman Legal made a submission and strongly encouraged the government to re-open applications for former residents of St Patrick’s. The earlier scheme was not properly publicised and the State failed to explicitly mention St Patricks was being added to this scheme at the time.
  • The State failed to properly inform former residents of their entitlements to apply to the scheme based on their residency at that institution.
  • It is still not known whether the State will re-open the scheme for adoptees/child residents but it seems that it would be entirely unfair if the State made a saving because of their own failure to publicise the scheme appropriately.
  • To see a link to the submission of Coleman Legal to Oak Consulting in March 2021, please click on this link:

Audio Blogs

Listen to our latest news and updates on Mother and Baby Homes

 

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The High Court is due to hear two test cases seeking judicial review of the final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes in late October or November.

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Mother and Baby Homes report described as unfair, untruthful, and inaccurate

The Dáil has been told that the recently published Mother and Baby Homes report should be repudiated since it is not valid or accurate.

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Women illegally adopted seeks expansion of the investigation

Ms Theresa Hiney Tingal discovered she was illegally adopted, and her birth certificate falsified at the age of 48.

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Mother and Baby Homes report described as unfair, untruthful, and inaccurate

The Dáil has been told that the recently published Mother and Baby Homes report should be repudiated since it is not valid or accurate.

Article

Mother and Baby Homes report described as unfair, untruthful, and inaccurate

The Dáil has been told that the recently published Mother and Baby Homes report should be repudiated since it is not valid or accurate.

MBH Team

Mother and Baby Home Survivors- Redress

Coleman Legal is supporting those affected by advising in relation to the recently announced Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme. We will be gathering our client’s information now and submitting applications once the Scheme opens. To speak with one of our solicitors call 1800 844104 (free phone) or complete our online enquiry form.

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