Catholic church doctored books of mother and baby homes to claim cash from Irish State

Young mums and adoptive parents of children also duped into handing over cash to nuns in 40s, 50s and 60s.


Patricia Devlin
NUNS were doctoring the books of two notorious mother and baby institutions to fraudulently claim government cash for single mothers no longer there.

Adoptive parents and young mums were also duped into handing over money on a monthly basis for the “care” of babies, some which had already left the facilities in Co Cork and Galway.

The shocking claims are the latest in a line of damning allegations made in a leaked HSE report surrounding Bessboro and Tuam ‘homes’,

Yesterday The Star told how HSE chiefs had uncovered evidence in 2012 that nuns were falsifying the deaths of babies during the 40s and 50s before sending them for adoption in the USA.

Former HSE family and children assistant director Phil Garland yesterday said the authority and the government ‘ignored’ the draft reports.

Last night campaign organisation United Survivors Group said it had made an official complaint to gardai on the back of The Star’s report.

The group says it wants a full criminal investigation into all those who had access to the material written by top consultant Dr Declan McKeown who warned: “This may prove to be a scandal that dwarfs other.”

Bessborough institution, Co Cork

Dr McKeown – who declined to comment when contacted by this newspaper – further laid bare the level of financial deceit employed by the church towards the State.

In a draft report dated October 17, 2012, he wrote: “It is reported that during the period in question that, once a mother and child had been discharged from the home, two dates were routinely recorded.

“The first date of discharge listed is the date when the woman was geographically discharged from Bessboro, while the second date appears to function for administrative purposes, denoting when the woman was discharged from the institution’s books.
“These dates are separated in some instances by years. It is alleged that the home was claiming monies form the government during this period when the mother and baby were still ‘on the books’ but not physically present in the home.”

The report goes on to highlight more financial irregularities in the Co Cork facility’s books.
“…it appears that monies were paid both by the natural mothers for the care of their babies, and by their adoptive parents.
“The latter were requested to pay significant sums of money for the time, in the region of £50-£60, and this was payable by monthly premium.”
In Tuam Dr McKeown said: “…there are reported examples of parents receiving bills for the upkeep of their children who had been discharged some time before.
“In common with Bessboro there is some evidence of coercion in that women were forced to stay in the home with their babies until well past the point that they were fit for discharge.

“During this time parents were charged with the upkeep of their children but it appears now that adoptive parents were also charged for the upkeep of the same baby.

“Babies were offered for adoption from the Bessboro and Tuam homes at up to three years of age. The trauma involved in this is revealed in an archive of photographs of children who were sent for adoption to the USA. This practice largely halted at the introduction of adoption legislation in the 1950s.”

Dr McKeown also raised “deep concerns” surrounding uncovered correspondence uncovered from senior church figures.
The letters sent to the Sacred Heart facility, from senior clergy including bishops, allegedly request that babies be made available for adoption.

“These children were subsequently removed from their birth mother, in many cases as old as three years, and then submitted for adoption,” it said.
He also revealed how investigators had uncovered evidence of some women being moved within a “network of Convents and Religious Orders” in Ireland and the UK from the Cork home. A number of these facilities, which included schools in Liverpool and London, were listed.

The report concluded:  “Children, if not the mothers who passed trough these systems are likely to still be alive and at the very least any knowledge of their histories should be fully investigated and made available to them if they so choose.”

Yesterday The Star revealed how Phil Garland, a former Family and Children Services Assistant Director said two ministers had been passed damning allegations.

However both departments who worked under then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald and Health Minister James Reilly denied they were aware of the draft reports.

Victims Group make Garda complaint

A VICTIM’S group has made an official complaint to An Garda Siochana over revelations in yesterday’s Star surrounding two mother and baby institutions.
United Survivors Group confirmed last night members had visited Garda HQ in Dublin to report shocking claims made in a leaked HSE report surrounding practices Bessborough facility, Co Cork and Co Galway’s Sacred Heart institution.
The allegations included how nuns were falsifying the deaths of babies before selling them for adoption in the USA.
In a statement issued to The Star last night, a spokesperson said: “We strongly recommend that all those named in the file note/memo dated the 12th October 2012 and the two confidential draft briefs dated the 12th and 17th October 2012, and all other parties who had access to the serious issues raised therein should be questioned under the 2006 Criminal Justice Act.”
Independent Clondalkin councillor Francis Timmons has also called for the Justice Minister to launch an independent investigation into the unpublished reports.
He added: “I believe these documents should be fully investigated by the Garda Commissioner and that all people involved by fully questioned and held to account for their actions.
“I also call on Minister Fitzgerald and Senator Reilly to comment on what they were informed of in relation to the issues raised by yesterday’s article when they were Minister for Children and what steps they took. I have put in an official complaint to the Garda Commissioner’s office.
Cllr Timmons added: “The enormous damage done to thousands of people by the Church and State needs to be exposed and all cover ups and illegal activity must be dealt with by the Justice system. Ireland must deal with its past actions and the woman and children wronged by the state must get truth and justice‘’
Anyone affected by the revelations is asked to contact United Survivors group via the its official website; [http://www.unitedsurvivorsgroup,com]www.unitedsurvivorsgroup,com; or email on or telephone on 085-1942256, between the hours of 7 pm and 9 pm Monday to Friday.

Published by Patricia Devlin

Award winning journalist based in Ireland covering crime and investigations.

7 thoughts on “Catholic church doctored books of mother and baby homes to claim cash from Irish State

  1. Cash for Kids comes to mind.

    The Baby Thief Georgia Tann comes to mind.

    Human trafficking-by the Roman cult- nothing new- trafficking women and children since its creation.

    For whatever reason most Irish people suffer cognitive dissonance on these matters- Perhaps it is too horrific to admit to being a member of such a cult. Of course bonded to the Abuser is clear for all outside to see…Stockholm Syndrome- Abuser pretending to care and victims feeling their survival depends on them.
    After all the Fish God supposedly decides if souls go to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory- what a cruel cruel cult that did al this and more to women and children.
    It continues- and the annual Red Mass in Dublin for Judges etc proves the RC cult runs our supposed justice system- so no need to wonder why child rapists etc walk free in Mother Eire.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no doubt at all, that my records from Bessborough and that of my beautiful Baby have been doctored, though he was three weeks suffering there not one mention of him other than he died


    1. Bridget. I have no words for your loss, but my heart goes out to you and your baby.
      Your baby lives on of course in your memory.


      1. I consider my-self extremely lucky to have survive, no thanks to nuns, literally died before their eyes with no concern or care for mother’s or child. My beautiful Baby William died so unnecessary. For three week’s he was in Bessborough with no effort to save him, after much tears and pleading to the nuns to call a doctor they always reply it’s the will of God. finally the nuns sent him to St Finbarr’s hospital where he suffered another three weeks before he died. Wish that other Mothers from Bessborough would get the courage and come forward to tell their story I know that I and William were not the only ones.💔X




  4. I’m so sorry for all your loss. My
    Mum was one of the women in a mother and baby home. Thankfully I have found two brothers. My sister was in our life but sadly passed. My mum lived with guilt and shake all her life. She had nothing to be guilty or feel shame for. She was let down by society and those who should have looked after her. She passed three years ago – before I could find my last brother. But I’m thankful she told me about him. As he’s a wonderful man and his family are amazing. We are making up for a lifetime of not having each other. I only home one day those who survived are given the truth they deserve.


  5. My niece was in a mother and baby home in the 1940s. Born to a poor little 15 year old mother both kept for 3 years then sent to the orphanage!. She had a battle to find her real identity later for a passport as her birth details had all been changed in the orphanage. She found she had a different name and she was a year older!.


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