Thursday 21 September 2017

How one Irish man tracked his mother down 48 years after he was taken from her

Eunan Duffy of, Birth Mothers and their Children for Justice NI, who was forcibly removed from his mother as a baby by the Catholic Church has begged for justice for the victims of abuse at former mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland (PA)
Eunan Duffy of, Birth Mothers and their Children for Justice NI, who was forcibly removed from his mother as a baby by the Catholic Church has begged for justice for the victims of abuse at former mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland (PA)

Deborah McAleese

Eunan Duffy was taken from his mother against her will by the Catholic Church as a newborn and placed for adoption.

He is now campaigning for justice with the group Birth Mothers and Their Children for Justice NI.

This is his story.

"I was born in 1968 in the former Marian Vale mother and baby home in Newry. My mother was 22.

"After I was born I was placed on her chest for a matter of minutes and then taken away.

"I was kept in a separate part of the home for 10 weeks without my mother's knowledge before I was adopted.

"I had a good childhood and life. I only discovered I was adopted in February 2016 when I applied to get married.

"I immediately went to the Southern Health Trust in Newry and they gave me initial information about my adoption.

"They told me I would get my records within a few weeks. I didn't get them until July and they were heavily redacted.

"Even my mother's date of birth was redacted.

"Can you imagine how difficult it is to find someone if you only have a maiden name and not even a date of birth?

"There are a lot of frailties in the system and I did a lot of the work to track my mother down myself.

"I was desperate to find her.

"When I heard about the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry I was thinking of just turning up and hanging about in case I heard mum's name.

"At that time I didn't know I had been taken off her.

"I eventually found out where she was living - a residential place for the elderly in London.

"Adopt NI wrote to her there but there was no reply.

"I eventually rang the manager and she told me my mother had moved out and gave me a forwarding address.

"In August 2016 Adopt NI wrote to her at the address.

"She got the letter on a Saturday and phoned Adopt NI on the Monday morning and just said: 'Is it him?' He said 'yes'. It went from there.

"I went over to see my mum a week later and spent a couple of days and then brought her here for a few weeks. We are in touch regularly.

"Mum told me I was put on her chest for a few seconds before I was taken away.

"That's as long as I got.

"My mum doesn't remember one minute of her time in Marian Vale from post-traumatic stress.

"The only thing she remembers is me being put on her chest and looking into my eyes and then me being taken away.

"I was fortunate. My mum had been waiting and hoping for me to find her.

"But that's not always the case. I know from other adoptees they haven't had the same experience as me.

"In the modern day what was done back then would be categorised as human trafficking."

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