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06 Dec 2021

Louth County Council publish Mother and Baby Homes report

Louth County Council publish Mother and Baby Homes report

Mother and Baby Homes

A report on Louth County Council’s involvement in Mother and Baby Homes was published by the local authority earlier this week.

The report, compiled by former social worker Denis Cahalane, details how Louth County Council was involved in sending women and children to Mother and Baby Homes and County Homes around the country.

The report itself was created off the back of two motions by local councillors, Sinn Féin’s Joanna Byrne and Fianna Fáil’s John Sheridan.

The report was presented to councillors at the October meeting of Louth County Council, detailing the passing references to Louth within the main Mother and Baby Homes report, which was submitted to Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman in October 2020.

There were no institutions mentioned in the main report that were based in Louth, with Mr Cahalane saying that women and children were placed in homes across the country.

Mr Cahalane also reports that it is impossible to know accurately how many of the 56,000 women and 57,000 children in homes around the country were from Louth.

According to Mr Cahalane’s report, the Catholic Protection and Rescue Society of Ireland (CRPSI) made an agreement with County Managers about admission arrangements for women and children entering into Mother and Baby Homes.

The report details how LCC breached that agreement three times, with one occasion seeing officials from the local authority contacting the families of two pregnant women to check if they could pay maintenance for their entry into a home.

Another occasion saw an official contact the mother of a pregnant woman who was being repatriated from England, with the mother being unaware of the pregnancy.

A final case in 1955 saw the County Manager of LCC refuse to admit a woman to a home other than either Dundalk or Drogheda District Hospital. In response to CRPSI, the manager said that he would reconsider the decision if CRPSI took responsibility for the child when it turned six months old.

Mr Cahalane concluded within the report that there are practical issues with advising people to seek out personal information from Louth County Archives, as there may be an expectation that cannot be met as LCA cannot provide information they do not have.

He added that personal help and redress for those impacted by Mother and Baby Homes should be done at a national level.

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