Monday 20 August 2018

Broadcaster Niall Boylan praised for his 'courageous' and 'extraordinary' story of Mother and Baby Home

Niall Boylan Photo: Screengrab RTE
Niall Boylan Photo: Screengrab RTE
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Broadcaster Niall Boylan has been praised on social media for sharing his "courageous" and "extraordinary" story of his experience at a Mother and Baby Home.

Speaking on Brendan O'Connor's 'Cutting Edge' Niall spoke about his anger towards the Catholic Church and his time spent at the home.

"If you look at the Catholic Church as an organisation, if it was a company, and they employed people who were responsible for genocide, rape, the abuse of children ... misogyny, homophobia... you wouldn't want to have anything to do with that company and you would make sure that the Government closed that company down and got rid of it out of the country.

"My biological mother was in a Mother and Baby Home. She was in there for three years and she had my sister who I only found out about three years ago at 50 years of age and I was born there. I spent 18 months of my life there.

"The reason that she couldn't keep me was because the church were building literal baby factories because they were selling babies to Americans and all over the country. I found a small receipt many years ago that showed my father paid £300 at the time in 1963 to an adoption agency. I was literally bought."

Niall said that during the first 18 months of his life, which he spent in the Mother and Baby Home, his mother wasn't present.

"She was sent out to clean the church in Phibsborough and when she came back I was gone. That was the way mothers were, screaming and crying. She told me stories about mothers that used to put phone numbers or addresses into babies' nappies in case the babies were taken when they were gone."

He added that he rang Tusla to see if they had any information about him.

"They gave me three pieces of paper. That was my life. I couldn't read most of the handwriting but it did say that I had the chicken pox. The one thing that really upset me at the time was at the top of it it had a box saying legitimate and illegitimate and the illegitimate box was ticked. You're branded and stigmitised. That was the church that did that."

Niall said that he was 13-years'-old when he heard he was born in the Mother and Baby Home.

"I found out on New Year's Eve. My father had a few drinks on him and I remember hearing my mother and father arguing and he called me down and said 'I just want to tell you something, you're adopted. You can go back to bed now'.

"It played on my mind for years and then I got into this obsession trying to find out who my mother and father was. I went down to the registered births office and literally went through manuals. I got a first name so I went through the manuals looking for the name. Because she was a single parent, the same name would be down for mother and father. So I narrowed it down to three. I went to the nuns and they arranged a meeting in the end."

Niall told Brendan O'Connor that while he had a "good life", he was "denied the life he was supposed to have".

"I was denied the relationship with a person who is now in her 80s that I should have had. I felt so sorry for this woman. She gave birth to me and she doesn't know me. She wanted to have a relationship with me.

"I met her about four times and the last time I spoke to her she said to me 'you know you can call me mam if you want', but I just couldn't bring myself to do that even though she is my mother. To me my mother is my adopted mother. I couldn't bring myself to do that.

"That could be why I have an inherent hatred towards the church. I got my birth cert three weeks ago by mistake. For the first time in 50 years, I saw my birth cert.

"I was told for the first time in 52 years that I had a sister. They told me over the phone 'by the way, you have a sister'. There was no counselling or anything."

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