Sally Mulready welcomes mother and baby home inquiry

Campaigner and former resident warns investigation will bring back painful memories

 Sally Mulready is a former resident of a mother and baby home on the Navan Road, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Sally Mulready is a former resident of a mother and baby home on the Navan Road, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 20:32

Sally Mulready, the London- based Irish community campaigner, has welcomed an inquiry into Ireland’s mother and baby homes and has sought a meeting with Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan.

A former resident of a mother and baby home on the Navan Road, Dublin, she said an exercise to address the scope of the commission of investigation, announced this month, was important, but cautioned about its potential effects.

“I am pleased with the promptness of the action and the decision to do it,” she said. “But . . . this is deeply, deeply sensitive stuff. It’s going to open wounds. It’s going to bring back pain and hurt for lots and lots of women in particular and I think it needs to be handled really sensitively.”

 

Confidence

Ms Mulready hopes to meet the recently appointed Minister during a forthcoming visit to Dublin to discuss the matter, but has expressed confidence in the approach to date.

 

“It looks to me as if it is going to be very comprehensive. I hope we hear the voices of the people who went through it.

“I hope we hear the voices of the women and people like myself who were the sons and daughters of those women, and I hope that we will be included in that inquiry in a significant way.”

Ms Mulready, a veteran campaigner for the Irish community in the UK and a member of the Council of State, which advises the President, has helped raise support for Irish emigrants who have fallen on hard times.

In an interview with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio, she spoke about her past as a young child in the home before being separated from her mother Sheila and moved to a new institution at the age of four.

 

Brother died

Later, she discovered one of her brothers, John, had died as a young child and his body was given to Trinity College for medical research without consent. Having tracked down his burial plot in Glasnevin cemetery, she found it marked by a “stick with a number on it”, no name or crucifix.

“I cannot imagine that happening to children or young babies who died in families living in maybe Blackrock or well- to-do-families, families with influence,” she reflected.

“Comfortable Ireland for me should be quite ashamed about never asking questions. We lost a generation of children as well and it’s another hidden Ireland which, hopefully, Minister Flanagan will unfold for us.”

However, rather than it being an exercise in “bashing nuns”, Ms Mulready said there was a context in understanding the legacy of such institutions: that Ireland itself had been intolerant of the underprivileged.

 

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.