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Mother and Baby Homes Northern Ireland – Inquiry

Posted on: 19 January 2021

Update 29.01.21

The leader of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Eamon Martin made fresh calls for an inquiry into the mother and baby homes scandal and for survivors to receive compensation.

The Archbishop of Armagh appealed to survivors to come forward. Distressing findings emerged from the report commissioned by Stormont, with girls as young as 12 being subjected to rape, incest and brutal treatment. Over a third of residents in these mother and baby homes in NI were under the age of 19.

Should you wish to come forward, feel free to contact us for confidential advice.

mothers in ni compensation


Update 26.01.21

A Stormont commissioned report into the operation of mother and baby homes in NI has been released. The report extends to more than 550 pages and examines the period from 1922 – 1990.

The leader of the Irish Catholic Church, Archbishop Eamon Martin, said: “As a Catholic Church leader in Ireland it is I who now feel embarrassed and guilty over the way in which we in the Church contributed to, and bolstered, that culture of concealment, condemnation, and self-righteousness.

“For that I am truly sorry and ask the forgiveness of survivors,” he added. 

The reports key findings:

  • Over 10,500 women and girls were in homes from 1922 – 1990.
  • Approximately 1/3 were under the age of 19, with the youngest child only 12 years old.
  • Sexual crime including rape and incest was uncovered.
  • Heavily pregnant women subjected to strenuous physical labour.
  • Babies were removed from their mothers for forced adoption, with many babies being moved outside the jurisdiction of NI.

A full copy of the repot can be viewed and downloaded HERE.

Not only are there widespread calls for a full inquiry into the operations of these mother and baby homes in NI, but there needs to be some form of compensation for these victims and survivors.

Should you wish to talk to our legal team about the findings of this report, for a free, no obligation and confidential consultation please contact us today by calling 028 9181 4444 or email by clicking this link.


January 2021

Following the final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes by the Irish government, fresh calls are emerging for an inquiry into similar institutions in NI.

The Executives Department of Health will shortly receive a report into the workings of the mother and baby homes in NI from Queens University. Publication of this report is due by the end of January 2021.

Mother and baby homes were operated by both the Catholic and Protestant churches in Northern Ireland, housing over 7,000 women and girls, with the last home closing as recently as the early to mid 1990’s.

Amnesty reports of women claiming adoption without consent, ill-treatment, forced labour and detention. Newborn babies were branded ‘illegitimate’ with many suffering neglect and malnutrition and ultimately facing death and burial in mass graves. Mortality rates for these ‘illegitimate’ babies has been estimated to be double that of statistical mortality data.

mother and baby home ni

Victims and survivors of these institutions are now calling for an urgent inquiry into the Mother and Baby Homes being operated by religious institutions within Northern Ireland. The findings from the anticipated Queens University report will undoubtedly pave the way for any subsequent action.

The mother and baby homes in NI that are of interest are:

Good Shepherd Sisters (Marianville and Marianvale), Belfast & Newry.

Mater Dei Hostel, Belfast.

Belfast Midnight Mission – Malone Place Rescue and Maternity Home.

Thorndale House (Salvation Army), Belfast.

Kennedy House, Belfast.

Hopedene Hostel, Belfast.

Belfast Welfare Hostel.

Coleraine Welfare Hostel.

Mount Oriel Hostel.

Deanery Flatlets, Belfast

Pre-1948 Workhouses.

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) compensation scheme was set up to provide financial compensation for victims of abuse, ill-treatment and neglect. However, this scheme was only applicable for child residents within NI children’s homes, ruling out compensation for adult women within these mother and baby homes.

A link to the publication of the Queens University report to the Department of Health will be posted within this article upon release.

Should you wish to discuss any of these issues raised, please contact us today by calling 028 9181 4444.


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