Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue brought forward the following motion before DCSDC at Thursdays monthly meeting.
This Council recognises the citizens of this districts commitment to human rights and will therefore support those seeking a human rights-compliant public inquiry into allegations of forced labour, arbitrary detention, ill treatment and the illegal adoption of babies in former mother and baby homes in this district and across the North.
Speaking to the motion Councillor Patricia Logue
Involuntary detention ,Rape, torture, severe beatings, food and sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, drug and vaccine trials, coercion, malnourishment, neglect little or no pre or post-natal medical care, humiliation, long hours of manual unpaid labour at all stages of pregnancy, forced and illegal adoptions, fraud, corruption, human trafficking, falsification and withholding of information, records, files and documents.
You would be forgiven in thinking I was describing concentration camps of Guatamino Bay of Kosavo indeed no this is all part of our shameful past and present history.
Mother and baby homes were run by many organizations including The Catholic Church, The Church of Ireland and the Salvation Army until 1996. The conditions that those woman and young girls some as young as thirteen years of age and their babies were made to endure would in the words of the campaign group “Shock this Society to its Core”
Children born outside marriage were lapelled as illegitimate, infant mortality rate in the North of Ireland during this period was 72 per 1,000 births for those children labeled as illegitimate it was 157 more than double.
Records show that at least 43 of the 67 children who died in 1year in two Belfast homes died from severe malnutrition. It has also come to light that 474 unclaimed infants’ remains were transferred to medical schools.
The women and young girls who had the misfortune of having to endure all of this then had to live lives filled with unjustifiable guild and shame that was in some cases beaten into them. They were unable to disclose to their future partners and children for fear of their reactions.
Children taken illegally from their mother cannot find their birth mother due to the clandestine nature of so many adoptions trace their birth mothers. The dehumanization of these mothers and children has adversely impacted on their mental and physical health and in some cases with profound consequences.
Testimonies from an ever growing number of women and children are evidence of the barbaric and dismissive cruelty towards these human beings, by those in charge of such institutions, whether it be in the Mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries, Industrial reform schools or orphanages.
We now also know of sufficient evidence of abuse through the various reports of such abuse in other parts of this island.
What has been disclosed in places like Dublin, Galway, Donegal and Tuam raises the question of whether such abuse has not occurred in Belfast, Newry and our own city of Derry. Hence the need for answers to the questions now being asked by the survivors and relatives of those detained in such places.
What evidence exists of alleged abuse must be protected and forensically preserved. In addition as part of any investigation where the deaths of Mothers, children and infants occurred, the sites of burials of these victims requires the expertise of competent personnel.
To begin with I am requesting that the group come in and present to Council so that we can begin to ascertain who this council can do to help them on their onward very difficult journey.
I am calling for cross community and party support and assistant for this campaign for a Human rights compliant public inquiry which is victim centered and time bound, and that these victims are part of the drawing up the terms of reference.