The final report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Inquiry was just issued, and it is predicted that up to 130,000 survivors, including 60,000 mothers and 70,000 surviving children, may be entitled for compensation.
While the Government’s Compensation/Redress Scheme is expected to compensate surviving mothers for the pain and suffering they underwent while living in the homes, it is also probable that children born in such homes will be eligible for compensation.
It appears that survivors who have relocated outside of Ireland, such as those in America, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other nations, may be entitled for compensation.
It’s worth noting that the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes has issued various suggestions aimed at limiting the number of survivors eligible for compensation.
For instance, the Commission Report indicates that women who entered homes after 1973 should not be eligible for compensation since they were qualified to receive the newly created ‘unmarried mothers stipend’ to aid them in raising their children independently of the mother and baby home. However, it has been suggested that this may be an unjust limitation, owing to the fact that, while the unmarried mother’s payment would give some aid with day-to-day living expenses, the State made no provision for housing.
Effectively, the lack of housing for unmarried moms forced them to continue living in the homes while the kid was a dependant – since the absence of aid and support from family was prevalent, and this absence was what prompted the necessity to enter the homes in the first place. Mothers essentially had little or no choice except to remain in their homes. As a result, this suggestion appears to be too restricted and ill-considered, and hence unlikely to be included in the Redress Scheme upon its establishment.
Amounts of Compensation
Another condition recommended by the Commission is that all redress/compensation applicants must have spent at least six months in one or more of the authorized institutions. Again, this may be seen excessively restricted and is unlikely to be implemented if the government adopts a Redress Scheme.
The government has not yet established the level/amount of compensation to be paid to survivors of mother and baby homes.
However, it is probable that any or all of the following factors will be used to decide the level/amount of compensation;
1. The applicant’s period of stay in the institution;
2. The intensity and frequency of the applicant’s emotional abuse;
3. The degree and frequency of the applicant’s physical abuse;
4. The applicant’s evident consequences of emotional/physical abuse;
5. In some restricted cases, punitive considerations.
In general, compensation/redress schemes have proven to be too expensive for governments in the past.
For instance, each survivor of the Magdalene Laundries earned almost €40,000. Additionally, survivors of Industrial Residential Institutions/Industrial Schools were compensated with around €60,000 apiece.
However, it is unlikely that survivors of mother and baby homes will receive equal compensation, owing to many residents’ brief stay in the mother and baby homes, but this remains to be seen and will clearly rely on a number of variables, including those listed above.
It is hoped that the government’s Compensation/Redress Scheme would not be overly limited and will be liberal with compensation in acknowledgment of the horrific conditions faced by many of the inhabitants and children of these facilities over several decades.
The Mother and Baby Homes Commission investigated the following institutions:
- Ard Mhuire, Dunboyne, County Meath;
- Belmont (Flatlets) Avenue, Dublin 4;
- Bessboro House, Blackrock, County Cork;
- Bethany Home, formerly on Blackhall Place in Dublin 7 then, beginning in 1934, on Orwell Road in Rathgar, Dublin 6;
- Bon Secours Maternity and Infant Home, Tuam, County Galway;
- Denny House, Eglinton Road, Dublin 4; formerly the Magdalen Home, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2;
- Kilrush, Cooraclare Rd, Clare County;
- Castlepollard Manor House, County Westmeath;
- Ms. Carr’s (Flatlets), Dublin 6, 16 Northbrook Rd;
- The Regina Coeli Hostel, located on North Brunswick Street in Dublin 7, and Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, Tipperary;
- St. Gerard’s, originally located at 39 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1.
- St. Patrick’s Church, Navan Road, Dublin 7 (originally known as Pelletstown; and subsequent transfer to Eglinton House, Eglinton Rd, Dublin 4
- Newtowncunningham Castle, County Donegal
- St. Kevin’s Institue (Dublin Union)
- Stranorlar County Home (St Joseph’s), County Donegal
- County Cork Home (St Finbarr’s)
- Thomastown County Home (St Columba’s), Kilkenny
This list is expected to be increased with the establishment of a Compensation/Redress Scheme.
If you are a survivor of the mother and baby homes or wish to make an inquiry on behalf of a survivor, please email Sherlock and Co Solicitors on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at (01)4570846