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Probe to look at church mother and baby homes


James Reilly

James Reilly

James Reilly

SEVEN Dublin mother and baby homes will be examined by a commission of investigation into the treatment and conditions of residents from the 1920s to late 1998.

St Gerard's on Mountjoy Square and St Patrick's at Pelletstown, Cabra, were named yesterday as Children's Minister James Reilly published the inquiry's terms of reference.

It emerged last year that documents belonging to the late Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, who died in 1973, showed that St Patrick's had high death rates in at least one year.


The records show that one in every three babies died in the home on the Navan Road in 1933.

The Pelletstown death rate was 34pc that year.

The other Dublin homes that have been included to be examined are Belmont in Belmont Avenue, Bethany Home in Rathgar, Denny House in Eglington Road, Ms Carr's in Northbrook Road and Regina Coeli Hostel in North Brunswick Street.

There have been allegations of serious abuse by members of the religious congregations that controlled the homes.

A social history module has been included as part of the €21.5m investigation to be chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy.

The results of this probe, to be published in 18 months, will help "to establish an objective and comprehensive historical analysis of significant matters", according to the terms of reference.

Nine specific issues have been highlighted for the commission to consider. These are:

l The circumstances under which women entered the institutions and the pathways to leaving.

l Living conditions for residents.

l Mortality rates for mothers and children and causes of death.

l Post mortem practices and procedures, including reporting of deaths and burials.

l Compliance with regulatory and ethical standards of the time regarding vaccine trials.

l Arrangements for the entry of children into institutions in circumstances when their mother was not also resident.

l Exit pathways for children and issues surrounding adoption, placement and child welfare.

l Treatment of residents on grounds of religion, race, Traveller identity or disability.

l The commission will not seek to provide an account of any individual case in such manner as to intervene in any effort by any individual to resolve their identity or trace a birth relative.


Dr Reilly said the work of the commission "should have enormous impact on our understanding of who we are as a people".

He said the Ireland of 2015 was unrecognisable compared with the early part of the last century.

Amnesty International Ireland said the inquiry was a missed opportunity to investigate the Magdalenes while the Bethany survivors group called for the 2002 redress scheme to be reopened.

The Children's Rights Alliance welcomed the terms.