On Friday afternoon, the 9th of February, the Irish Pastoral Centre held an information session about Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes, in association with the Clann Project. The event was well attended, especially considering the weather conditions in the aftermath of Thursday’s snow-storm. The aim of the event was to disseminate available information regarding Ireland’s notorious Mother and Baby Homes, and to encourage discussion around the untold stories and memories which many people have kept private to date.
The information session was led by Boston College Professor James Smith, a research academic and author, who has dedicated much of his study to Ireland’s history of containment. Professor Smith spoke in great detail about the impact of Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes on unmarried mothers and their children, and about the search for new information to submit to the Government of Ireland’s Commission of Investigation. Professor Smith further highlighted the importance of the public record reflecting the lived experience and suffering of these women and their babies, which it does not currently do.
Celebrated Artist Vincent Crotty, son of the late June Goulding, read passages from his Mother’s seminal book, The Light in the Window, which was written about her experience as a midwife in one of Ireland’s most notorious Mother and Baby Homes. Vincent recalled how his Mother’s experience in this home continued to affect her throughout her lifetime, and how the publishing of her book caused controversy in Ireland, and internationally. June Goulding was the first author to share her story through writing, and her book continues to play an important role in the telling of this dark part of Ireland’s history.
It is understood that more than 2200 Irish babies were adopted in the 20th century by American families, many of whom call the Northeastern United States home. The Clann Project is actively encouraging anybody who was affected by Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes to make contact with them to share their story, if they so wish. Clann are in the process of collecting and collating this new information, which will then be submitted to the Commission of Investigation in Ireland. To date, the Clann Project have spoken with 80 individuals in Ireland, the UK and the United States, and they hope to hear from as many affected individuals as possible in advance of the Commission of Investigation’s March 1st deadline. More information about the Clann Project can be found at www.clannproject.org
If anyone feels they need to speak with someone confidentially regarding any aspect of Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes, do not hesitate to make contact with the Social Services team at the Irish Pastoral Centre by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org