Charity to screen film documenting Ireland’s mother and baby home scandal to help bring survivors forward

Charity to screen film documenting Ireland’s mother and baby home scandal to help bring survivors forward

A CHARITY in northern England is offering a free screening of a film documenting Ireland’s mother and baby home scandal to encourage survivors to come forward.

Some 40 per cent of those woman and children who went through Ireland’s notorious state institutions are thought to now be based in the UK.

On March 20 a compensation scheme offering redress payments to survivors will open for applications.

The Leeds-based charity Fréa is hoping to engage with those based in the north of England in order to advise them on the scheme.

Survivors of Ireland's notorious mother and baby homes can apply for compensation under a new scheme

Through their Renewing Roots project, Fréa offers free, confidential support to survivors who now live in northern England.

In a bid to bring them together, they will screen the film Stolen, by the acclaimed Derry-born filmmaker and director Margo Harkin, at the Leeds Hyde Park Picture House next month.

In the film, Harkin explores the scandal which unfolded when the barbaric treatment of unmarried women who fell pregnant in 20th century Ireland was revealed.

A government inquiry unearthed shocking accounts of cruelty and abuse, including forced separations and adoptions, inhumane living conditions, children used as cheap labour and infant mortality rates up to five times the national average, at homes run by the state or religious institutions.

Ms Harkin will also be in attendance at the event, where she will give a Q&A after the screening.

“Commemorative events are so important to honour former residents who have passed, and to celebrate the strength of those still with us,” Patrick Rodgers, Regional Manager at Renewing Roots, said.

“Although financial compensation can’t eliminate the wrongs of the past, it’s a small step towards redressing them,” he added.

“The long-awaited mother and baby institutions payment scheme opens on March 20.

“We would urge anyone who spent time in one of the eligible homes living in the north of England to get in touch with our team for a confidential and supportive chat.”

Fréa is a partnership of three Irish charities providing services across the North of England - Irish Community Care, Irish Community Care Manchester and Leeds Irish Health and Homes.

Under the Irish Government’s Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme, former residents of Ireland’s mother and baby and county homes may be entitled to a general payment, a work-related payment and a health-related payment, depending on their circumstances while resident in these homes.

Tickets to the Stolen screening are FREE and can be booked through Hyde Park Picture House.