Mother and baby homes: Bessborough survivor cites 'inaccuracies' in report

ireland
The 'Little Angels' memorial plot in the grounds of Bessborough in Cork
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Vivienne Clarke

A woman who was born in the Bessborough mother and baby home has said there were “10 glaring inaccuracies” in her testimony in the report published on Tuesday.

Noelle Brown told RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne that her testimony had arrived in the post on Wednesday after she had pushed for a copy of it to be sent to her.

The questions included in the report “looked like they were written by nuns in the 60s”, she said.

The tone of the questions centred around religious affiliations and social class while some were “inappropriate”, she said.

Her responses had been “shoe horned” into the report and made to look like she had answered many more questions.

A major inaccuracy was that the report said she was raised by her birth parents, which was not the case.

'Wasted effort'

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Participating in the report had been “a wasted effort”, she said. She had done so in an effort to find out if she was subjected to vaccine trials. She knew of people who had the scars to show that they had been involved in such trials.

“Details are very important to adopted people. These are our stories.”

Ms Brown, an artist and adoption rights activist, said she felt “raw” after Tuesday's publication of the commission's findings. She said her sentiments were “not helped” by inaccuracies in her testimony to the commission.

Ireland
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This was not a survivor-centred approach as had been claimed by the Minister, she said. The survivors still felt stigmatised.

The Government was out of step with society, they were not taking the temperature of the feelings of society who supported the survivors, she said.

Ms Brown said the only apology she wants is for the Government to acknowledge “collusion with the Catholic Church that has brought about this absolute horror in Irish history ... we are still being denied our identity, we are still stigmatised, we are still othered”.

A new webpage with information specifically for former residents of mother and baby homes has been set up at hse.ie. Additional mental health supports provided by the HSE are also available to former residents. Details of these supports are available on yourmentalhealth.ie.

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