Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) and Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) Make Joint Submission to Terms of Reference for Commission of Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes
Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) and Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) today submitted a comprehensive briefing to inform the terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes. ARA and JFMR, who, along with representatives of Irish First Mothers and historian Sean Lucey, met with Minister Flanagan on Wednesday, 25 June 2014, and suggested that the Commission of Investigation should focus on the issue of children born out of wedlock in Ireland since 1922 rather than institutions per se. Communicated in that meeting and in the joint submission is the understanding that this issue gives rise to six distinct fields of inquiry:
- Infant mortality rates;
- Adoption practices;
- Vaccine trials and medical experimentation;
- Forced labour and incarceration of unmarried girls and women who gave birth to babies or were seen to be ‘at risk’ of becoming mothers;
- Conditions in the institutions, including neglect, denial of adequate medical care and cruel punishment of unmarried mothers and their infants and children; and
- Burials of unmarried mothers and their children who remained in recarceral institutions.
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Statutory investigation into mother and baby homes should extend to Magdalene Laundries
Justice for Magdalenes Research welcomes the announcement of a statutory investigation into the full extent of the abuses perpetrated in Ireland’s mother and baby homes. We stand in solidarity with all women and children who spent time in these institutions and with their family members, many of whom are still searching for each other.
We call on the government to include the Magdalene Laundries in the terms of reference of this statutory investigation. The need is clear: there was significant traffic between mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries; the McAleese Committee did not retain records received from the religious orders responsible for operating the Magdalene Laundries; the McAleese Committee’s terms of reference did not allow it to investigate individual complaints of abuse or examine fully the religious orders’ financial records; and all religious orders responsible for the Magdalene Laundries have refused to apologise or provide compensation.
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Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, is announcing the end of its political campaign, begun in June 2009.
Read the entire exit statement >>
Justice for Magdalenes gratefully ackowledges The Ireland Fund of Great Britain for its recent grant. This funding will enable JFM to cover expenses associated with our final push in the UN Committee Against Torture process, to gather and print testimonies, and to perform further research in order to assist the Inter-Departmental Committee's inquiries into state interaction with the Laundries.
We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the Feminist Review Trust, under which JFM has been gathering testimonies in conjunction with and as a pilot phase of the UCD Magdalene Oral History Project (which is also funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Science), directed by Dr. Katherine O'Donnell, Director of Women's Studies at UCD's School of Social Justice and JFM Advisory Committee member.