Departments had access to mother-and-baby home report
Two Government departments had access to a 2012 report on “shocking” levels of infant deaths at Bessborough Mother and Baby home — despite initial claims that it did not have the report.
Earlier this month, the Irish Examiner revealed that a 2012 HSE report highlighted the “wholly epidemic” infant deaths rates at the Cork home and said: “The question whether, indeed, all of these children actually died while in Bessborough, or whether they were brokered into clandestine adoption arrangements, both foreign and domestic, has dire implications for the Church and State, and not least for the children and families themselves.”
The report, compiled as part of the HSE’s examination of the State’s role in the Magdalene Laundries under the McAleese inquiry, was based on an examination of Bessborough’s own records between 1922 and the late 1970s. Bessborough’s death register records 478 children died there between 1934 and 1953 — one infant a fortnight for nearly two decades.
In response to queries from this newspaper, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) said it had not been given the report by the HSE in 2012. However, it has since confirmed that both it and the Department of Health were given the report in 2012.