Mother and baby and county home institutions

Introduction

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was established in February 2015 to investigate and report what happened to women and children in mother and baby homes and county home institutions in Ireland from 1922 to 1998. The terms of reference for the Commission were set out in the order establishing the Commission, SI No.57 of 2015.

The Report

The Commission gave its final report to the Minister on 30 October 2020. It was published on 12 January 2021. You can read the interim reports published by the Commission, the full report, and the Recommendations of the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation. The Commission was dissolved on 28 February 2021.

The Action Plan

On 13 January 2021, the Taoiseach issued a State apology in the Dáil to survivors.

On 16 November 2021, the Government published An Action Plan for Survivors and Former Residents of Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions (pdf). It sets out 22 actions and responses to the report across different themes. These actions include:

  • Access to personal information
  • Memorialisation
  • Restorative recognition
  • Dignified burial

Access to personal information

The Birth Information and Tracing Act 2022 (pdf) was signed into law on 30 June 2022. This Act gives adopted people, people who were boarded out, or born in a mother and baby or county home institution, or people whose births were illegally registered the right to get:

  • Their birth certificate
  • Information about their birth, early life and care
  • Medical information about their own or a genetic relative’s medical history that is important for the maintenance or management of the person’s health

A dedicated website birthinfo.ie has information on how to apply for birth and early life information and records. It also has information on how to apply for a tracing service if you want to find and make contact with a birth relative.

Memorialisation

On 29 March 2022, proposals for a National Centre for Research and Remembrance were approved. The National Centre will have:

  • A museum and exhibition space
  • A research centre and repository of records related to institutional trauma in the 20th century, which will be part of the National Archives, and
  • A place for reflection and remembrance

A Commemorative Grant Scheme (pdf) is available with funding of up to €2,500 for organisations representing institutions investigated by the Commission of Investigation that wish to organise commemorative events. Call 01-647 3200 or email commemorativegrantscheme@equality.gov.ie for more information.

Restorative recognition

Restorative recognition for former residents includes:

  • Counselling (immediately available), call HSE Live on 1800 817 517 (8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, Saturday) or call the National Counselling Service directly (9.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • An enhanced medical card
  • Patient liaison support services
  • A mother and baby institutions payment scheme

Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme

The Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme Bill was published on 17 October 2022. You can also read a Plain English version of the Bill (pdf).

The Bill sets out the eligibility criteria for the payments and health services (enhanced medical card and patient liaison support services) available to certain groups of people who were resident in mother and baby and county home institutions. There will be 2 types of financial payment:

  • A general payment to recognise time spent in the institution, harsh conditions, emotional abuse and other forms of mistreatment, stigma and trauma experienced while resident in a mother and baby or county home institution
  • A work-related payment (where relevant)

The Bill also sets out:

  • The institutions that are included in the Scheme (Schedule 1 of the Bill)
  • The qualifying payment for a child based on the number of days resident in a qualifying institution (Schedule 2 of the Bill)
  • The qualifying payment for a mother based on the number of days resident in a qualifying institution (Schedule 3 of the Bill)

The Bill also includes a process for appeals for applicants. The Bill is currently making its way through the Houses of the Oireachtas where further changes and amendments may be introduced. It is expected the Scheme will open for applications in 2023.

This page will be updated as further details are agreed and published.

In the meantime, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has published Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme: Questions and Answers (pdf).

Dignified burial

The Institutional Burials Act 2022 was signed into law on 13 July 2022. The Act provides for the excavation, exhumation and, where possible, identification of remains (where possible) where there have been inappropriate burials at the sites of former mother and baby homes.

Any remains exhumed will be re-interred and given a dignified and respectful burial.

Work is currently underway to establish an independent Office to lead and manage an intervention (under the Act) at the site of the former Mother and Baby Institution at Tuam, Co Galway. Full-scale excavations are expected to begin in early 2023.

Further information

For further information, visit Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions. To get updates from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, email motherandbabyhomes@equality.gov.ie and ask to be included on its mailing list.

The Department’s Information Line is also available on 01-647 3200, Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm for people seeking information on mother and baby and county home institutions.

Page edited: 18 November 2022