‘Unbearable suffering’ – Mother and Baby Homes survivor Philomena Lee calls for compensation for families

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Mother and Baby Homes survivor Philomena Lee has called for families to be paid compensation for the “unbearable suffering and loss” caused by the institutions throughout the 20th century.

s Lee, whose life was the subject of the 2013 film Philomena, also said Irish people owe it to the memory of women and children who have died that such atrocities never happen again.

She grew up in an orphanage after the death of her mother and her son Anthony was later born in the Sean Ross Abbey home, run by the Sisters of Mercy, in 1952.

However, three years later Anthony was taken from Philomena Lee and sent to the US.

Speaking ahead of the publication of a new report tomorrow, Ms Lee said it was essential for the purpose of healing that the Irish State and various churches involved apologise without reservation.

She said this should be done for the “enslavement of unmarried mothers and the trading of children” carried out by the institutions.

Ms Lee also said the Government should compensate “many generations of families who have suffered unbearable suffering and loss as a result of the State’s failure to recognise and honour the equality promised to all Irish citizens by the State’s founders.

“I can only hope that the authors of this report recognise these facts and that those of us who were detained against our wills in Mother and Baby Homes, and gave birth there, are not all of the mothers nor all of the children who have suffered, and that the tens of thousands who went through State maternity hospitals, State children’s hospitals and various private institutions suffered the same fate – the unlawful destruction of their families, through forced adoption, child trafficking, forced labour etc,” she said.

“I am dismayed that portions of the report have been leaked to the press ahead of the survivors having sight of it and digesting its findings. This will undoubtedly add to the heartache and trauma of those directly affected and I am concerned for the welfare of all.

“Irish people owe it to the memory of those mothers and children who have died without knowing the truth and to resolve that such atrocities will never be allowed to happen again.”

Her son Anthony grew up as Michael Hess in the US and became a legal aide under the Bush and Reagan presidential administrations.

The mother and son spent years attempting to find each other but Anthony passed away in 1995 before they could be reunited.

Online Editors

Source: Irish News