Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin formally apologized on Wednesday for years of mismanagement of single mothers and their babies and the high rate of infant mortality in homes run by the Catholic Church.
A three thousand page report released on Tuesday found that for much of the last century, a “stifling, oppressive and misogynistic culture” reigned in homes. At least nine thousand children died, around 15 percent of the total number of children who remained there. The researchers speak in the report of “infant mortality on a terrible scale”.
“On behalf of government, state and citizens, I apologize for the generations of abuse Irish mothers and their children at home have suffered,” Martin told parliament. According to the prime minister, the death rate was “shocking” and mothers were emotionally abused in a “cold and seemingly indifferent environment”.
Martin also apologized for “the shame and stigma” to which the victims were exposed and which “remain a burden to some victims to this day”. “I want to stress that each of you was in an institution because of the mistakes of the others,” said the Prime Minister.
Previously, it was reported that victims could expect to receive financial compensation.
Thousands of bodies buried in mass graves
The Irish cabinet is working on legislation allowing for the tracing, exhumation and, if possible, identification of human remains in mass graves. Thousands of bodies of deceased children, including newborns, were buried in these graves.
The case came to light in 2014, when hundreds of children’s bodies were discovered in a yard where until 1961 there was a Catholic home for single mothers.
No evidence of forced adoption abroad was found. Irish adoption agencies have reportedly received large sums of money to organize the adoption of 1,638 children, according to earlier accusations. Most of these children ended up in the United States.
The head of the Irish Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Eamon Martin, issued his “unconditional apologies” on Tuesday.