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Gardai appeal to Mother and Baby Homes survivors to report crimes in institutions

A confidential freephone number and a dedicated email address have been set up for anyone wishing to report crimes.

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The infants graveyard at Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary, which was mother and baby home operated by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from 1930 to 1970. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday January 11, 2021. See PA story IRISH MotherBaby. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The infants graveyard at Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary, which was mother and baby home operated by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from 1930 to 1970. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday January 11, 2021. See PA story IRISH MotherBaby. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The infants graveyard at Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary, which was mother and baby home operated by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from 1930 to 1970. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday January 11, 2021. See PA story IRISH MotherBaby. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardai have appealed to survivors of Mother and Baby Homes to contact them if they wish to report crimes related to pregnancy or abuse in the institutions.

A confidential freephone number and a dedicated email address have been set up for anyone wishing to report crimes.

Gardai say anyone who wants to come forward will receive personal contact within 48 hours.

“An Garda Siochana is fully aware of the profound impact on the lives of those who were in Mother and Baby Homes and the concerns of the wider public on how Mother and Baby Homes operated,” a statement on Thursday said.

“An Garda Siochana is inviting anyone who was the victim of a criminal act arising out of the Mother and Baby Homes, or who has information likely to assist an investigation into a criminal act committed at a Mother and Baby Home, to please come forward and report this.”

The Gardai said they will “deal with any matters reported by complainants in a sensitive manner and will, where possible, progress matters through investigation”.

However,  they said there will be instances where investigations will be limited.

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“While it is our intention to effectively deal with all complaints and information received, there will be limitations as to the action we can take in some cases due to matters such as the loss of evidence over time or suspects and/or witnesses being deceased,” the statement said.

“Where these factors are present, An Garda Siochana will diligently explain such limitations to complainants.”

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Flowers and figurines at the memorial to 222 children from the Bethany Mother and Child Home, at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Flowers and figurines at the memorial to 222 children from the Bethany Mother and Child Home, at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

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Flowers and figurines at the memorial to 222 children from the Bethany Mother and Child Home, at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

A review of the Commission of Investigation report by a dedicated Garda team has concluded that there are not sufficient grounds to commence a criminal probe at the moment.

“The report is anonymised and any proper investigation would not be possible without identification of individual parties affected by specific occurrences,” they said.

“As such, An Garda Siochana is appealing to anyone with information about crimes at Mother and Baby Homes to make contact with them so that such crimes can be investigated where possible.”

Taoiseach Micheal Martin apologised for the “profound generational wrong” experienced by survivors of the homes for unmarried mothers and their children in January.

It followed the report by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, that found “appalling” levels of infant mortality in the institutions.

The report found that the institutions for women who fell pregnant out of wedlock produced high levels of infant mortality, misogyny and stigmatisation of some of society’s most vulnerable.

Women suffered emotional abuse and were often subject to denigration and derogatory remarks, the commission of investigation’s report said.

Those wishing to contact Gardai can do so by emailing MotherandBabyHomes@garda.ie or by phoning the confidential Garda Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Line on 1800 555 222.


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