Government 'may force religious organisations' to pay compensation to Mother and Baby Home victims

Government 'may force religious organisations' to pay compensation to Mother and Baby Home victims

THE VICTIMS of Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes may receive compensation for the abuse they suffered behind closed doors.

From the mid-to-late 20th century, unwed mothers in Ireland were sent to special, Catholic-run 'Mother and Baby Homes', where some remained for the rest of their lives.

While the cruel, unjust nature of these homes has been known and acknowledged for some time, a new report leaked to the media yesterday revealed some of the most harrowing statistics to date.

The report, seen by The Irish Independent, is due to reveal that an estimated 9,000 children died in the just 18 institutions investigated. That figure represents one in seven or 15% of all children born in homes studied. 

These deaths took place across 14 Mother and Baby Homes and four sample State-operated County Homes. 

Since the foundation of the State in 1922 up until the closure of the last of these homes in 1998, the commission report found 56,000 mothers passed through these homes and 57,000 children were born within these institutions. 

The site of the former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co. Galway (Image:

Women in the institutions were subject to physical and mental abuse, and were told that the pain of childbirth was the result of their sin of having sex outside of marriage.

Now a Cabinet source has told The Irish Mirror that the victims of these institutions may be paid compensation, but as none of the homes were owned or run by the State, the Government may force religious organisations to pay the money.

The source told the outlet: "While none of these homes were run by the state we haven’t ruled out paying compensation and then forcing the religious orders involved to give us the money.

"There will be intense conversations on this issue in the coming weeks and months with all the parties involved."

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin is set to make a State Apology on Wednesday, after the report is officially published and the Dáil reconvenes after the Christmas recess.

Catherine Corless, the historian who helped uncover details about a mass grave at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, welcomed Martin’s state apology but said it must be backed up by action.  

"All the words in the world won't matter unless there is action behind them," she told RTÉ. 

She also reiterated her belief that survivors should receive a formal apology by the Catholic Church and the religious orders that operated several of the homes around Ireland.