Action on mother and baby homes
Sir, – I am one of the many babies born at Sean Ross Abbey and sent to the United States.
I moved home to Ireland two years ago and have no regrets except for how something so important (the new legislation) would be pushed through so fast and not to our satisfaction.
We all have different stories and different voices, but our emotions are all the same. Mothers feel shame, rejection and mistrust. The babies feel rejection, abandonment, mistrust and loneliness.
I think since these are our stories, they are also our records, our information.
I think having medical records are important – if nothing else to just know what is in them, it’s as simple as that. I met with the Commission of Investigation, as many of us have and I have asked for records but basically was shot down and that was a year ago.
I know the media is great for getting the stories out there so I hope they will stand with us during this hard time: we just want the right thing to be done. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – In 1980 Dr Carl Sagan stated, “You have to know the past to understand the present”. To paraphrase this one might say that in order for a person to understand who they are, they have to know where they came from.
I would like to know where I came from but, given that I was born in a mother and baby home on the outskirts of Cork city in 1964, and subsequently adopted, I have no right to this knowledge.
Over the past 56 years I have lived a fulfilling life. I was adopted by two wonderful people who I am honoured to call my parents. I have a beautiful daughter and three lovely grandchildren. I have a BA from UCC, a Masters from University of Warwick and a PhD from University of Cambridge. I have lived, worked and studied in Italy, the UK and Ireland.
But for all these achievements and accomplishments, one aspect of my life has always been a failure. This failure relates to my complete inability to access my birth certificate, any documentation relating to my birth or my family medical history.
This failure is one of the legacies I am currently leaving to my daughter and grandchildren. They, like me, cannot know who they are and cannot understand why they are the way they are, because they do not know where they came from. For us, and the many others like us, to understand our present we need to know our past. We need access to our records. We need to be given the same rights as the rest of the Irish population and to no longer be treated as second class citizens. For this reason, we need to “Repeal the Seal”. – Yours, etc,
Dr BLÁITHÍN HURLEY,
Sir, – I am writing regarding the “sealing” of findings found by the Commission of Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland. This marks a further disregard for the women of Ireland. Disregard held central to the church. Disregard that we can trace back to the foundation of the Irish State. Disregard for women’s reproductive health, reproductive choices and reproductive opinions.
As a senior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology currently working in an Irish hospital, I am privileged to witness the birth of children as part of my working day. This is a field that is at the coal face of a changing society regarding reproductive choices. A field that I feel lucky to be part of.
However, it has become evident from Friday’s decision that there is still disregard for the women of Ireland. Disregard for their voice, their truth and their justice.
Haven’t we, Mná na hEireann, suffered enough for Eve’s sin? –
Dr ELLEN MCMAHON,
Obstetrics and Gynaecology,
Sir, – Thanks to Colm Keena for his analysis of the issues involved in accessing the records compiled by the Commission on the Mother and Baby Homes (Home News, October 24th).
Two matters have not been dealt with by the politicians who insist on simplifying things. First, some women who were in these homes were promised absolute confidentiality and still want this commitment to be honoured.
Second, publication of these records would infringe on the rights of those who operated the institutions. Natural justice demands that a person against whom an allegation is made, has the right to question and crossexamine the person making the allegation. My understanding of the workings of the commission is that it did not allow for such a process.
One person’s right does not obliterate the right of another. – Yours etc,