The Irish government has recently agreed to a settlement that would pay out upwards of €65,000 to 34,000 individuals that experienced abuse in church-run mother and baby homes. The practice had occurred in Ireland for around 80 straight years before it was finally shut down in the late 1990s. This settlement is the first funds being paid out to the survivors of this practice.
The settlement intends to help mothers who spent time in the homes, as well as children born in them. In certain cases, the children born in the homes were reported to be forced to work in church-run laundries and mothers experienced severe neglect and abuse.
An inquiry by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation found that upwards of 54,000 mothers and 57,000 children were placed in these homes between 1922 and 1998. The homes, mostly run by nuns, experienced alarmingly high death rates. The report published by the Commission discovered that in some cases, the babies were forcefully taken from the mothers, and given away for adoption. Additionally, a local Irish historian found that almost 800 babies had died over a 36 year period, and no burial records were kept.
The settlement distribution process has promised to be non-adversarial so that the survivors of these homes do not have to re-experience any trauma. The Irish government went further saying that this settlement is an important step in the state’s acknowledgement of its past failures.