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Report details dark chapter in Ireland's history

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 02:46s - Published
Report details dark chapter in Ireland's history

Report details dark chapter in Ireland's history

Thousands of infants died in Irish homes for unmarried mothers and their offspring run by the Catholic Church from the 1920s to the 1990s, an inquiry found on Tuesday, an "appalling" mortality rate that reflected brutal living conditions.

Gavino Garay has more.

Thousands of infants and children died in homes for unmarried mothers known as 'Mother and Baby Homes' across Ireland -- run by Ireland's Catholic Church from the 1920s to the 1990s -- a government-commissioned report found on Tuesday... laying bare some of the Catholic Church's darkest chapters.

The inquiry found an "appalling" mortality rate that reflected brutal living conditions at the homes... where 56,000 young pregnant women, including rape victims, were hidden away from society.

Anonymous testimony from residents compared the institutions to prisons, saying they were verbally abused by nuns.

Women suffered through traumatic labors without any pain relief.

Babies weren't cared for.

Reuters spoke with one survivor, Peter Mulryan, who lived in one of the homes until he was 4 years old.

"We were neglected.

No love shown whatsoever.

It wouldn't have been done to animals what we had to suffer.

Babies crying and crying through the night.

Why?

Because they were uncomfortable, they were neglected, starved and cold.

No love and care whatsoever... they were called nuns, (but) for what, like?

Yeah... it just beggars belief, what they got away with." Relatives have alleged the babies were mistreated because they were born to unmarried mothers who, like their children, were seen as a stain on Ireland's image as a devout Catholic nation.

Surviving infants were taken from mothers and sent overseas to be adopted.

Anna Corrigan's two brothers John and William Dolan are suspected to be among 802 babies and children who died at one of the homes and dumped in a mass grave.

"I feel traumatized … My heart is breaking for every survivor.

I mean, I didn't spend a day in a home, but I can't even imagine." The investigation was launched six years ago after historian Catherine Corless found evidence of an unmarked mass graveyard.

Around 9,000 children died in all, Tuesday's report found - a mortality rate of 15%.

The proportion of children who died before their first birthday in one home in County Cork was as high as 75% in 1943.

Prime Minister Micheal Martin is expected to make a formal apology in parliament this week for what he described as "a dark, difficult and shameful chapter of very recent Irish history."




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