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Every effort must be made to retrieve oral histories of mother and baby home survivors

Colette Browne


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A mother hugs her child after leaving flowers at the shrine at a mass burial site which was formerly part of the Bon Secours Mother and Baby home in Tuam. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty

A mother hugs her child after leaving flowers at the shrine at a mass burial site which was formerly part of the Bon Secours Mother and Baby home in Tuam. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty

A mother hugs her child after leaving flowers at the shrine at a mass burial site which was formerly part of the Bon Secours Mother and Baby home in Tuam. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty

With three days to go until the Mother and Baby Homes Commission ceases to exist as a legal entity, we are being told that audio recordings of hundreds of witnesses which were deleted may not actually be gone forever. It is another usual twist in a most emotional saga. For decades, survivors of mother and baby homes have been denied a voice and denied autonomy. When they fell pregnant, many through rape and abuse, they were marched to the doors of religious institutions.

They may not have had shackles on their arms or legs for the duration of their stay, but they were captives nonetheless. Prisoners of misogynistic social stigma and perverse notions of respectability. Once they gave birth, their babies were ripped from their arms and they were callously told to get on with their lives.


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