Report reveals grim infant death toll, cruelty at Church-run homes in Ireland

Report reveals grim infant death toll, cruelty at Church-run homes in Ireland

Padraic Halpin
Clodagh Kilcoyne

January 11, 2021

DUBLIN/TUAM, Ireland (Reuters) – Thousands of infants died in Irish homes for unmarried mothers and their offspring mostly run by the Catholic Church from the 1920s to the 1990s, an inquiry found on Tuesday, an “appalling” mortality rate that reflected brutal living conditions.

The report found no statutory regulations were in place for the foreign adoptions of 1,638 children – mostly to the United States. Vaccine trials for diphtheria, polio, measles and rubella were also carried out on children without their consent.

The report, which covered 18 so-called Mother and Baby Homes where over decades young pregnant women were hidden from society, is the latest in a series of government-commissioned papers that have laid bare some of the Catholic Church’s worst abuses.

Around 9,000 children died in all, Tuesday’s report found – a mortality rate of 15%. The proportion of children who died before their first birthday in one home, Bessborough, in County Cork, was as high as 75% in 1943.

Infants were taken from mothers and sent overseas to be adopted. Children were vaccinated without consent.


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