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17th Nov 2021

Survivors of mother and baby homes to qualify for payments of up to €65,000

Sarah McKenna Barry

The scheme will open next year.

A new government redress scheme will see survivors of Ireland’s mother and baby homes receive payments which are capped at €65,000, the Irish Times reports.

34,000 women and children were held in these institutions, most of which were run by the Catholic Church.

Unmarried mothers were forced to live and work in these homes, while being shunned by society. Many of their children were taken from them while some were forced to work in the laundries.

In 2015, the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation was set up after the bodies of 800 babies and children were found in an unmarked mass grave in the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam.

Yesterday, the Government agreed on a compensation package for survivors which is worth €800 million.

Under the scheme, mothers who spent less than three months in the institutions will receive €5,000, while those who spent 10 years or more there will be eligible for payments of €65,000.

There will also be compensation for children who spent their early years in the institutions.

Financial payments and medical cards will be given to defined groups under the scheme, which will open in 2022.

Announcing the redress plan, Ireland’s Minister for Children Rodereic O’Gorman said: “There is no payment or measure that can ever fully compensate or atone for the harm done through the mother and baby institutions.

“What we have set out today is the next chapter in the state’s response to the legacy of those institutions, and its commitment to rebuilding the trust it so grievously shattered.”

Last year, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin apologised on behalf of the state for the “profound generational wrong visited upon Irish mothers and their children who ended up in a Mother and Baby Home or a County Home”.

He said: “I apologise for the shame and stigma which they were subjected to and which, for some, remains a burden to this day.”

Feature Image: Sasko Lazarov ©