Research to begin into Northern Irish mother and baby homes

Research to begin into Northern Irish mother and baby homes

RESEARCH is to start on mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland, it has been announced. 

The Department of Health has commissioned research to be carried out on Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland.

The research will involve the collation of accounts of women who resided and worked in the homes and laundries.

They have appealed to people from throughout Ireland and beyond to tell the researchers in confidence of their experiences of the institutions.

It will be undertaken over 12 months by academics based at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University who will examine the operation of the homes and laundries between 1922 and 1999.

The Group is chaired by Norah Gibbons, who has been involved in inquiries in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the research, Ms Gibbons said: “I am delighted that the research has now been commissioned. It is essential that we develop a strong evidence base about the operation of these institutions in the last century.

The research will not only look at historical records. Critically, it will also involve listening to and collating the accounts of women who resided in Mother and Baby Homes or worked in Magdalene Laundries. The research will assist the Working Group, which I chair, to provide advice to Ministers in the future.”

As well as speaking to those with direct experience of the various institutions, the research team plans to examine government and institutional records to enable the researchers to build a narrative about the women and children who resided in the homes and those who worked in the laundries.

The research has been commissioned to fulfil a decision by the former NI Executive to review the evidence around the experience of residents of certain institutions not considered by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI).

At the direction of the former Executive, an inter-departmental working group was established.