Social Issues

Colleen Anderson, surviving an Irish mother and baby home

Dublin, Jan 28 (efe-epa).- Colleen Anderson was born in 1965 at the now infamous Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby home in County Tipperary, in the center of the Republic of Ireland.

The Congregation of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary ran the home between 1939-69 for mothers and their “illegitimate” children, who would be put up for adoption.

A total of 1,024 children died at the home during its 38 years of operation, mostly due to the harsh living conditions they were forced to endure. It was run with an iron fist.

Anderson has no recollection of Sean Ross Abbey, a cold grey building in the town of Roscrea.

All she remembers is a small, blue suitcase, a custodian and the Pan Am flight that took her to Chicago, Illinois, where she was to begin a new life.

Her story features in a report from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation that this month presented the conclusions of an investigation into 18 homes, which between 1922 and 1998 took in more than 56,000 women and 57,000 minors.

The probe found that up to 9,000 children died in the centers, which were run by religious orders and state authorities. Those mortality rates were double the national average at the time.

The commission also examined sinister vaccine trials carried out on minors, who were used as guinea pigs, and the establishment of illegal adoption programs in exchange for money.EFE/EPA


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