Relatives alleged that babies in mothers’ homes and babies were abused because they were born to single women.
One of the darkest chapters in the Catholic Church will be revisited on Tuesday when an Irish survey of newborn death rates in church homes for single mothers delivers its final report.
Relatives alleged babies at the mothers and babies’ household were abused because they were born to unmarried women who, like their children, were seen as a stain on Ireland’s image as a nation pious Catholic.
The 3,000-page report is expected to be released by mid-afternoon after the five-year investigation by the Commission of Inquiry into Maternal and Child Homes.
It is expected to reveal that 9,000 children – one in seven – died in the 18 institutions surveyed between 1922 and 1998, when the last one closed, according to a leaked version of the report obtained by the Sunday Independent, an Irish newspaper.
The institutions, which doubled as orphanages and adoption agencies, were established across Ireland during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Although run by nuns, they received state funding and were also regulated by the state.
Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday that the report on their story was difficult to read.
“One of the things that struck me was how it was a huge societal failure and a huge societal shame that we have a generation of stolen children who did not have the education that they should have, ”he told the national television channel RTE.
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin is expected to issue a formal apology to the victims in the country’s parliament on Wednesday.
Tuam’s “ chamber of horrors ” triggers an investigation
Tens of thousands of women, including rape victims, have been sent to homes to give birth.
Government reports show that the death rate of children at home was often more than five times that of those born to married parents.
The Institutions Commission was formed in 2014 after local amateur historian Catherine Corless discovered evidence of an unmarked mass cemetery at an institution in Tuam, western County Galway.
Corless found death certificates confirming that nearly 800 children had died at the site, but there were no burial records.
She said she had been haunted by childhood memories of the skinny children in the house.
Excavations in 2017 revealed “significant amounts of human remains” in 20 underground chambers of a decommissioned wastewater tank at the site of the site, the commission said in an interim report.
Prime Minister at the time, Enda Kenny, described the Tuam burial site as a “chamber of horrors”.
The grim revelations have further tarnished the reputation of the Catholic Church in Ireland, which has been shattered in recent years by a series of tragedies including abuse in the workplace, forced adoptions of babies born out of wedlock and priests who have sexually assaulted children.
During the first papal visit to the country in nearly four decades in 2018, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the scandals.