A survivor of one of Ireland's mother and baby homes has said a new report into the institutions fails to condemn “forced adoption”.
The Commission of Investigation into Ireland’s mother and baby homes, where unmarried mothers and pregnant women were sent from the 1920s right up until the 1990s, was published on Tuesday after years of delays.
Survivors groups have campaigned for recognition of the alleged forced adoption that took place at the homes, where children were forcibly taken from their mothers, and often sold, to adoptive parents.
However, the Commission said it found “very little evidence that children were forcibly taken from their mothers”.
It continued: “It accepts that the mothers did not have much choice but that is not the same as ‘forced’ adoption.”
This is despite the fact that the same report contains witness testimony from women who explicitly state they had not consented to their child being adopted.
Niall Boylan, who was adopted from the St Patrick’s Mother and Baby home, criticised the report’s failure to deal with forced adoption.
Mr Boylan (55) was born in the St Patrick’s home on the Navan road in Dublin, and is now a DJ at Classic Hits FM.
He slammed the report's finding, saying: “It’s only consent when it’s informed consent. This wasn’t informed consent.”
He said he has a receipt for £300 that his father gave to the adoption agency.
He said: “My father had donated £300 I think. He had to donate. Although they say they hadn’t charged people, they took donations.
“You were expected to give something. I’m pretty sure that the donations for richer people would have been a lot more. People did pay.”
Mr Boylan, who reunited with his birth mother in his 50s, said she had told him some of the traumatic experiences at the home.
“She said some of the mothers would put little notes with the babies in their nappies, with their names and addresses just in case they came back and their babies were gone,” he said.
He added: “I think the report is a deep insult to all the women who had their babies in those homes, and to all the children who were born in those homes.
“I think it's ridiculous to try and apologise for something that the report doesn’t acknowledge happened.
- Read more: Key points from the report
- Read more: Timeline of the commission's findings
- Read more: 9,000 children died amid 'appalling' infant mortality
“The report doesn’t acknowledge that there was abuse, and they don’t acknowledge that there was forced adoption. It’s ridiculous.”
Other survivors have also criticised the report, with the Irish First Mothers group saying it has absolved both the Church and State of any systemic responsibility.
A new webpage with information specifically for former residents of Mother and Baby Homes has been set up. Additional mental health supports provided by the HSE are also available to former residents. Details of these supports are available on www.yourmentalhealth.ie.