‘I was told that if I’d been raped, I’d get over it – but I’d never get over terminating my pregnancy’

Last year I carried out an investigation into how anti-abortion protesters were confronting women using Belfast's Marie Stopes Centre. The article received a lot of feedback, with most shocked at the tactics used by some'pro-life' campaigners. Following this month's High Court case involving one activist challenging a harassment notice served on her by the PSNI, I thought I'd … Continue reading ‘I was told that if I’d been raped, I’d get over it – but I’d never get over terminating my pregnancy’

Abused, raped and forced to give birth at 12 years-old

ABUSED at the age of two, gang raped by eight and giving birth to twins at 12. This is the horrific story of a Dublin woman who was the victim of an Irish paedophile ring - which included her grandfather, dad and uncles. Today Anne, not her real name, speaks about the endless years of … Continue reading Abused, raped and forced to give birth at 12 years-old

I just want to look my mum’s killer in the eye and ask them,’why?’

LAST week Antoinette Smith should have been celebrating her 56th birthday. Instead her family were marking yet another year that the devoted mum had been cruelly stolen from their lives. It's been just over 29 years since Antoinette, or Angie as she was affectionately known, disappeared after a night out in Dublin in July, 1987. … Continue reading I just want to look my mum’s killer in the eye and ask them,’why?’

‘I cried out for someone to come and take me away so many times, but no one came to rescue me’

By Patricia Devlin WHEN Margaret McGuckin began a justice campaign for historical abuse victims in the north, she was told: "You can't take on the church and the state." Seven years later she has not only helped clinch a cross-party supported public inquiry, but is close to getting government approval on a £20 million victim redress scheme. If there's one thing that those dark … Continue reading ‘I cried out for someone to come and take me away so many times, but no one came to rescue me’

‘You are holding your baby and you are being told you are a filthy, selfish whore’

By Patricia Devlin WHEN Terri Harrison discovered her period was late in February 1973, she knew she had to leave Catholic Ireland. “The plan was if I discovered I wasn't pregnant I'd have a ball for about a month and then come home,” said Terri. “If I was then to hell with everyone else, I wasn't … Continue reading ‘You are holding your baby and you are being told you are a filthy, selfish whore’

Child number 1629 – David’s story

By Patricia Devlin This month I spoke to a number of survivors of Ireland's horrific mother and baby institutions. One of those was David Kinsella, a Dublin man who was born in the notorious St Patrick's facility on the Navan Road. The 58 year-old's story is incredibly heartbreaking. Set aside the abuse he suffered from the very day … Continue reading Child number 1629 – David’s story

Branded a fallen woman, but Mary was just another victim of Catholic Ireland.

By Patricia Devlin WHEN Francis Timmons held his dying mother's hand, he felt like the luckiest man on earth. For not many children who survived the horrors of the 1970's Irish care system were as fortunate to be with their mothers. "To be beside her when she was dying and to hold her hand...I was … Continue reading Branded a fallen woman, but Mary was just another victim of Catholic Ireland.