The Irish state and the Irish Catholic Church have apologized for running and enabling a network of religious institutions that abused and deceived unmarried mothers and their children for most of the 20th century.
Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, made government figures on Wednesday accept responsibility and express remorse for the mothers ‘and babies’ homes that have turned generations of vulnerable women and babies into exiles.
Eamon Martin, the Catholic primate of all of Ireland, made statements from bishops and nuns who apologized for the church̵
The apology followed the publication on Tuesday of a long-awaited report by a judicial commission of inquiry, which documented excruciating abuse, neglect and callousness in institutions that served as a place to evict unmarried mothers and their children.
Some survivors and opposition politicians said the report did not go far enough to establish criminal guilt on the part of the state and the church, and called for churches to be confiscated unless the institution contributes to a state compensation scheme.
Taoiseach told Dáil that he accepted that the state had a great responsibility.
“For the women and children with whom they have been so cruel, we must do what we can to show our deep remorse, understanding and support. So, on behalf of the government, the state and its citizens, I apologize for the profound generation visited against Irish mothers and their children who have found themselves in a mother and baby home or in a county home. “
About 56,000 women and 57,000 children were placed or born in homes, most of which were run by nuns, from 1922 until the last closure in 1998. Families brought women into homes, doubled as orphanages and adoption agencies, to hide what is considered the shame of pregnancy and childbirth out of wedlock.
The report found no evidence of sexual violence and little evidence of physical violence, a version challenged by some survivors, but documented cruelty, intolerance, neglect and “horrifying” child mortality about twice the national average.
“We honored piety, but we failed to show even elementary kindness to those who needed it most,” Taosicha said.
The 2,865-page report, written over five years, gave a voice to the survivors, he said. “Former residents talk about feeling ashamed of the situation they are in. The shame was not theirs – it was ours,” he said.
The report received saturation coverage in Ireland, displacing the coronavirus pandemic.
Eamon Martin, Ireland’s top church official, apologized for “disturbing and painful” truths.
He said: “I accept that the church was obviously part of a culture in which people were often stigmatized, condemned and rejected. I unreservedly apologize for this, as well as for the long-term injury and emotional stress that result. “
The investigation was prompted by the revelation that there were no funeral records for nearly 800 children who died at a mother’s and baby’s home in Tuam, Galway County. Subsequent excavations have subsequently found significant amounts of human remains in an unused septic tank.
The religious order “Sisters of Bon Secour”, which runs the home, apologized. “We acknowledge in particular that babies and children who have died in the home have been buried in a disrespectful and unacceptable manner. We deeply regret all this. “
Catherine Corles, a historian who helped uncover the Tuam scandal, welcomed the apology and called on nuns to allow human remains to be exhumed and DNA tested.