Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (838)

Anne Rabbitte


838. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated number of persons born in the mother and baby homes currently under investigation by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30702/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs does not have collated information to facilitate an estimate on the numbers of persons born in the Mother and Baby Homes currently under investigation. There is no centralised records system for the fourteen specified institutions but the Deputy may wish to note that certain records from several of these former institutions are now in the possession of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

Tusla has made these records available to the independent statutory Commission of Investigation on Mother and Baby Homes. The Commission has reported that when its cross-referencing of all records is complete it should provide as comprehensive an account as is possible of the pathways of entry into and exit from these institutions of the children concerned. It is reasonable to assume that this analysis will assist to estimate the numbers of children born or resident for a time in these institutions. The Commission is due to report in February 2020.

All birth records are held by the General Register Office (GRO). Information provided by the GRO on births recorded at the addresses of the main mother and baby institutions was published in the Report of the Inter-Departmental Group on Mother and Baby Homes in July 2014. This data, which is available on my Department’s website, identifies a total of over 23,000 births as having taken place at the addresses of 9 of these institutions. The delivery of babies to unmarried mothers on-site was a feature of many, though not all, Mother and Baby Homes so this figure would not represent the full numbers of births to mothers resident in these homes. Practices changed over the period during which these the institutions were in operation with births increasingly taking place in maternity hospitals or maternity units in later years.