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Call for Financial Contribution from Church Bodies in Ireland to Support Survivors of Mother and Baby Homes

The Irish government has taken a significant step in seeking justice and reparations for the survivors of Mother and Baby Homes by requesting religious institutions to contribute to a compensation scheme. 

These institutions were notorious for housing unmarried mothers and their children. Sheila Nunan, an experienced negotiator, has been appointed to engage in discussions with church bodies regarding their financial responsibility in supporting the £700 million Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme.

The urgency to address the historic wrongs committed within these institutions was highlighted in the final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, released in January 2021. The report uncovered substantial evidence of systemic failures by both the state and religious congregations in operating these institutions.

Mother and Baby Homes were established in Ireland primarily to providing a refuge for unmarried pregnant women who faced significant social stigma. These homes, predominantly run by religious orders, often subjected mothers and their children to harsh conditions, emotional abuse, and forced separation. The Commission’s report exposed the extent of neglect, malnutrition, high mortality rates, and instances of unethical adoption practices within these institutions.

The Payment Scheme, representing a significant milestone in the Irish government’s efforts, aims to extend financial support to approximately 34,000 survivors who endured immense suffering during their residency in these homes. 

In terms of its anticipated beneficiaries, the government proudly asserts that this initiative will surpass any previous undertaking of its nature in the State’s history.

After the report’s release, Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman initiated a series of actions. He sent a letter to the religious congregations involved and conducted individual meetings with six religious congregations, a lay Catholic organization, and the Church of Ireland.

When the scheme was announced last year, Mr. O’Gorman stated that it marked a significant milestone in the State’s recognition of its past failures and the unnecessary suffering endured by many of its citizens.

The Payment Scheme offers compensation to all mothers who resided in a Mother and Baby Institution, with the amount increasing based on their length of stay. Additionally, all children who spent six months or more in such institutions are eligible for compensation.

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