The delegation was organised by Sinn Féin and the hearing chaired by Martina Anderson MEP.
Various organisations such as Justice For Magdalene’s, Adoption Rights Alliance, Bethany Home Group and Irish First Mothers Group were present to deliver harrowing tales of abuse suffered by both mothers and children in Church and State run institutions.
Illegal adoption practices including forced separation of mothers from children, vaccine trials on children without consent, and forced labour in terrible conditions were just some of the human rights abuses highlighted at today’s hearing.
Several women present were able to give affecting first-hand accounts of their experiences. Particularly disturbing were descriptions of children being forcibly “kidnapped” from their mothers and sold on what was essentially an “adoption market”
Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance drove home the message that the hurt inflicted on Irish women was due to a “systematic social engineering policy devised by Church and State.”
The audience also heard from individuals who had been born in to “Mother and Baby Homes”. Despite having mothers who wanted them they were treated as orphans and spent the early years of their life in some of Irelands Industrial Schools, many being subjected to both physical and sexual abuse. Others from the Bethany Home Group told of being “farmed out” to work as child labourers.
The Irish State has also been putting many barriers in place for those who wish to track down their parents and siblings whom they were separated from at birth. The documents and records necessary are currently being held by the HSE yet victims are being told they will have to wait 4-8 years before they will have access.
Martina Anderson MEP has stated that: “The Irish Government are trying to sweep a shameful part of Irelands past under the rug rather than give justice to the victims”.
“As with every scandal in Ireland this one began with a denial, then a delay, then a lie, followed by a cover up and eventually if forced the Irish Government will throw some pennies from the table at it in hope that it will go again. SF MEPs will work to ensure that this one will not go away and that the Survivors of the Mother and Baby and other Children’s institutions – Protestant and Catholic get the justice they desire and deserve”